There were basically two major bits of news that were precursors to this album. The first was the release of lead single and track “Entertainment”, which has been met with lukewarm reviews. Eh, it is what it is, I enjoy it and I think it works a bit better in the context of the album.
The second was back in 2011, when Thomas Mars said that the band’s next release was going to be more “experimental”. Bankrupt! is not particularly experimental, outside of the title track, which serves the same sort of purpose as Franz Ferdinand’s “Lucid Dreams”, except that its electronic section is much more mellow. But a track like this shouldn’t be a huge surprise, since it’s coming from the same band that gave us “Funky Squaredance”.
The rest of the supposed experimentation on the album is represented by…more synths? Some sounds with some foreign influences (see below video)? Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix also used synths a good bit, so I really don’t see this album as being starkly different. It gravitates around magnetic hooks, it’s going to be one of the bigger “summer” albums of the year, and it starts off stronger than it finishes.
I mean, that’s classic Phoenix, right?
Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. “Bourgeois” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s a little bit more balanced from front to back, though I’m not sure it’s for the right reasons.
For the most part, when you throw Phoenix on the record player, you know what you’re getting yourself into. This isn’t Public Enemy, you’re going to have some fun and not critique the album a ton. Now it’s not on par with, well, any of the band’s previous releases, in my opinion. But it’s not far off. This is some solid synthesizer worship, and I won’t be too upset if someone plays Bankrupt! in the coming months. I’m sure someone will.