Phoenix – ‘Bankrupt!’: 4 out of 5 stars

Back in 2009, a little-known band from Versailles stormed onto the mainstream scene with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, an indie-pop record that spurred multiple commercial hits.

Nearly a half-decade later, Phoenix, known for “1901” and “Lisztomania,” return with Bankrupt!, the band's latest attempt to keep the grooves going and the dance floors bumping. To put it briefly: If dance-friendly music is what you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed.

Chart success for a band like Phoenix really isn’t very surprising. Bands that utilize upbeat pop rhythms are sure to find airtime everywhere, whether it’s on the radio or in a film soundtrack. Bankrupt! has already found its way into the ears of innocent bystanders.

From the first track, listeners will recognize the same infectious beats that the band's first album lived by. “Entertainment,” with its obnoxiously catchy hooks and hummable lyrics, has been featured on radio stations and Spotify ads alike. “Trying to Be Cool,” although slightly more subdued, will still bring about Wolfgang flashbacks.

With all of this being said, the strong connection to its popular 2009 record will also undoubtedly amass some criticism. Phoenix had a lot to live up to after its last record, and the four-year wait didn’t do much to help appease the band’s harshest critics. When looked at comparatively, Bankrupt! doesn’t quite live up to the same level of success as Wolfgang.

Much like movie adaptations of popular books, Bankrupt! needs to be treated as its own separate entity. The album definitely deserves to be called a success of its own.

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