On their fifth studio album “Bankrupt!,” French alternative rock group Phoenix delivers a distinctive sound while steering clear of the post-success trap so many artists fall into following the release of a popular album. Equipped with 10 attention-grabbing tracks, “Bankrupt” is an album that stands on its own while maintaining a culturally reflective message.
Beginning with the catchy single “Entertainment,” the album is a force to be reckoned with. Heavy on both synths and percussion, the melody hints at the enjoyable sound of the tracks to follow.
Continuing the dance-provoking vibe, the album packs a punch with tracks like the anthem “Trying to Be Cool” and the melodious “Chloroform,” which comes equipped with strong electronic influences.
Unlike their 2009 breakout album “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” “Bankrupt” flies by smoothly and seamlessly, with each track lending itself to the following jingle. And while each single can stand alone as an intriguing expression of pop-rock finesse, the album begs to be appreciated as a whole rather than à la carte.
Phoenix has managed to produce an album that you’ll play on repeat for weeks, but the band also sends a cultural message. Through tracks like “The Real Thing,” in which Thomas Mars chants, “You’re Lancelot/20-year-old and bored/Run for a better future,” the band urges a sense of self and encourage listeners to open their ears and minds.
This theme continues with the socially aware “Bourgeois,” which unapologetically proclaims, “We’re destined, wise and we socialize/Bourgeois, why would you care for more?/They gave you almost everything/You believed almost anything/Bourgeois, your fire’s a false alarm.”
The album serves as a reminder that although Phoenix has been a band for nearly 20 years, it continues to create music that appeals to listeners in a tactile and palpable manner, proving that the key to prolonged success is accessibility.
Whether you’re a die-hard Phoenix fan, “Bankrupt!” is certainly an album worthy of appreciation. Brimming with electronic beats, ear-pleasing hooks and intriguing transitions, the record is an experience itself.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 23 print edition. Alana Drof is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.