Time Out says
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. Danielle Goldstein