It’s been nearly four years since Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix hit shelves and thrust Phoenix’s catchy, synth-driven anthems onto the North American masses. On its follow-up, the French popsters deliver an album worthy of its hype, despite the relative lack of huge standout singles. As a whole, Bankrupt! is perhaps Phoenix’s most cohesively catchy recording to date; in place of Wolfgang’s slower, almost ambient moments, we get a full album’s worth of tightly wound, high-energy offerings that play off of the band’s most beloved hits (“1901,” “Listzomania”). Early standout “S.O.S. in Bel Air” feeds off a whip-crack electronic drumbeat that builds and retreats; when frontman Thomas Mars hits the chorus’s climax at minute 1:24, you almost can’t help but chant along. That Bankrupt!’s title track is also its curveball — a seven-minute, Tangerine Dream–channeling number awash in swirling synths — speaks to why this band continues to delight; Phoenix pens a mean hook, but manages to make the experimental downright listenable, too.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Montecito Pushes Back on Streamlined Rebuild Process

Not so fast with fast-track rebuilding, leaders tell the county

St. George Files Suit Against Gelb for Unpaid Debt

Pair of Isla Vista landlords in legal tussle over property sales costs.

Thousands of Plaintiffs Added to Refugio Oil Spill Case

Litigation follows footsteps of 1969 Union Oil spill attorneys.

Push Comes to Shove Between Law Enforcement and Mental Health

County supervisors confront too many needs with not enough money.

Helicopter Hits Electrical Wires, Starts Small Fire

A crop duster hit power lines in Ellwood Canyon.