Leigh MichaelThursday,25 April 2013

The Snap:

Phoenix released Bankrupt! on 22 April. The band’s fifth album has been four years in the making, leaving millions of fans breathless with anticipation about this release. Phoenix was the headlining act at Coachella this year and is currently on a European / North American tour… check here to see whether they’ll be playing near you!

The Download:

I was not expecting to write this review. I’ve talked about my steady, if not all-consuming, love for them on TSD before. But if I’m being totally candid here – Bankrupt! let me down. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I impatiently tossed the album away after the first song.

Bankrupt! was stale. It felt like they were trying to create something explosive, but only succeeded in duplicating their past four albums. This latest one was four years in the making… but it leaves the audience feeling like they haven’t really been missing much. “Bankrupt” felt drawn-out; “Trying to be Cool” felt like, well… it was trying to be cool. I loved “Drakkar Noir” and “Chloroform,” but these felt like needles of goodness in the album haystack.

In a Q&A with Phoenix four years ago, the interviewer congratulated vocalist Thomas Mars on keeping up the indie image despite booked shows at Madison Square Garden. He replied, “Thank you, it won’t last.” In many ways, it feels like Phoenix has stripped themselves of their “indie” label. They’re predictable — we’ve heard this all before. Only kicker is, their old material is their current competition.

When we think of Phoenix as that indie band that could, we’re thinking of this sort of thing. The great music sticks around – but so does the vibe of four guys who are distinctly uncomfortable with their fame (for a fun game, count how many times any of them make eye contact with the camera throughout the song. I have a feeling we’ll both arrive at the same number.)

I’ll always be pumped to hear Phoenix on my stereo. But as snotty as it might sound, I fear that they might have gotten too famous for their own good.

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Hat Tips:

Pitchfork, SoundCloud, NPR, Image Credit: Flickr


  1. […] stop it from sounding really damn good. The end result is like combining bits and pieces of Phoenix with the crisp, repeating, and catchy beats of Daft […]

  2. […] Phoenix Releases Bankrupt. “Bankrupt! was stale. It felt like they were trying to create something explosive, but only […]

  3. […] 2013 was a roller coaster of a year. We got some winners (take a bow, Arcade Fire) and some losers (take a seat, Phoenix). […]

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