Pure Aural Entertainment

Pure Aural Entertainment: Phoenix; Bankrupt

Music review by Maggie Nichols
Thursday Review Contributing Writer

Phoenix music cd cover

Phoenix’s new album, Bankrupt, released just last month, reminds me of why I love this French band’s sound—it’s an addictive mix of alternative and rock sounds, carefully layered to create something always easy to listen to. The opening track, Entertainment, sets the tone for this album right away, with a richly produced, fast-driving cut which became a big enough hit on indie and alt radio to kick sales of this new release, two years in the making, into overdrive. For those unfamiliar with the band’s slick sound, do not make the mistake (an easy one to fall victim to) of assuming the lead vocals are that of a woman. The enchanting, otherworldly voice is that of Thomas Mars, whose range of high alto and low soprano adds to the shimmery sound that is the Phoenix trademark—and the sound that gave them their break a few years back with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Bankrupt is worth the price of the CD or the downloads despite the one minor flaw: some of the later songs begin to feel repetitive, as if these guys ran out of fresh ideas toward the end of the long process of recording but were forced to add to or three mores songs to fulfill a contractual obligation. That one complaint aside, this is good stuff—upbeat, catchy, and likeable. Album highlights include “Entertainment,” “The Real Thing,” “SOS in Bel Air,” and “Drakkar Noir,” a great upbeat dance track. The last cut, “Oblique City,” seems to be a paean of sorts to the city of Atlanta with its references to Olympics and Coca-Cola.