Phoenix – Bankrupt!
Phoenix's first LP in four years promises more experimentation than on their breakthrough, 2009's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and sure, there's a few changes to their palette which are apparent right from the get-go with Entertainment, the album's hooky opening statement. There's a heavier dependence on retro synthesizers and tinny, artificial-sounding drums, making this their most explicitly synth-pop outing to date.
The left-turn of Love Like a Sunset from their last record has a counterpart here in the title track, which initially toys with abstract electronics up until Thomas Mars' smooth vocals are reintroduced and the song soars calmly to its end-point. Despite the slight shift in sonics, each track here is as harmonious and inviting as ever: Bourgeois and The Real Thing both radiate joy and melancholy in equal measure. The band makes this kind of balancing act look effortless on an album bursting with treasures. [Ross Watson]