By KRUA Music Manager Oli P.
The French synth-pop wizards have returned. This time, with even more magic.
Pheonix’s new fifth full-length album, Bankrupt! from Glassnote Records is a direction extension of their previous record, 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Pheonix (featuring the radio-flooding singles “Lisztomania” and “1901”). Bankrupt! picks up where their last album left listeners desiring more of the shining, theatrical, masterfully produced synth-pop that is the signature of their sound. While the growling, crackly snyth bass lines and punchy ’80s style drum tones have returned in full force, they’ve brought along with them some expanded musical pairings – flying harpsichord licks (think Bach at Bonaroo) on “Oblique City,” new acoustic guitar plucking on “The Real Thing,” as well as a new and prominent bell synth featured throughout the whole album. Stylistically there are some new hip-hop influences on “Chloroform,” a high-gravity track that will pull heads rhythmically and uncontrollably downward with the slow, heavy beats and classic tick-tick-ticking of the hi-hats.
As something of an adage to Wolfgang Amadeus Pheonix, the middle of Bankrupt! features a 7-minute odyssey of a track from which the album gets its name. Bankrupt! as a track is reminiscent of “Love Like A Sunset Part I & II” off Wolfgang Amadeus Pheonix. A sprawling orchestral soundscape of ambiance and experimental sounds, it has no destination in mind, but rather the way it unfolds supplies both intrigue and a measure of satisfaction. The track reflects Pheonix’s own sentiment that making this album was just another trial – having no particular idea in mind, this was the end product. For having no real goal for this album, Pheonix has worked their magic once again. Buy. And conjure up copies for your friends as well. 4.6/5.