Phoenix – 'Bankrupt!' album review

Four years on, the French group seem to have lost the wow factor



Add +

Phoenix – 'Entertainment'

  • Rated as: 3/5

Four years have passed since Phoenix released their Grammy-winning album, ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’. In that time, they’ve experimented with marimbas, eighteenth-century harpsichords, a toy keyboard and a custom-made guitar effects pedal. They wrote in a village in the middle of Australia, New York’s Chinatown and Montmartre, Paris, and spent $17,000 on Michael Jackson’s old mixing desk. It’s a lot of trouble to go to for an album that, ultimately, is missing the wow factor.

‘Bankrupt’ opens with excellent single, ‘Entertainment’ – an eruption of pounding drums and harmonic, Asian-influenced synths – but the rest of it is only good in parts. The title track, for instance, is four flat minutes of synth wig-out and a slow-building bass drum that never climaxes. ‘Drakkar Noir’ pairs Thomas Mars’s dreamy falsetto with a satisfying synthetic fluttering, while ‘SOS in Bel Air’s fluidity harks back to Phoenix’s earlier days as a straightforward indie guitar band. However, neither packs the punch of ‘Entertainment’. It sounds like the French foursome spent three-and-a-half years on that banger, while the other six months went
on the rest, which just fizzles out.

Watch Phoenix's 'Entertainment' video

Read more album reviews

Albums of the Week

John Grant, Fetty Wap, Rudimental and Shopping

Albums of the Week

The Libertines, Miley Cyrus, Max Richter and Dam-Funk

Albums of the Week

Beach House, Dr Dre, Yo La Tengo and more

Read more Time Out album reviews

Users say


Listen to 'Bankrupt!' on Spotify

Read more music features

Time Out readers' top songs of 2015

We love discovering new music that hits that special spot, so we asked some #takeovertimeout contributors: what’s your top song of 2015 so far?

Arcade Fire on teashops, London and ‘The Reflektor Tapes’

Time Out reader Joe Presley discovers five things you didn’t know about Arcade Fire

Disclosure on Sam Smith’s ring, toilet reading and ‘Caracal’

Guy and Howard Lawrence tell Time Out reader Hannah Ashraf about their new album and becoming more than just a dance band

See all Time Out music features