Rise from the ashes

Tommy Sletten, Spread Editor

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Hot off Saturday Night Live and headlining the Coachella Music Festival, Phoenix, a four member group from Versailles, France, is back with their highly anticipated new album. The alternative rock group first gained attention in 2009 with their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and the hit single “1901.” It’s been four years since their breakthrough album, but the group is back with Bankrupt!, and they are ready to take the reins of the music scene.

This new album is a joyride full of synthesizer packed synth-pop tracks. Similar to that of fellow French act Daft Punk, many songs are powered by heavy, electronic melodies and infectious drum patterns. “Bankrupt!” in particular, emphasizes the constant use of synthesizers, which transforms their usual, light sound, into an aggressive, buffed up version. Even though they changed their sound, they kept their masterful quality of music.

While most of the album was dominated by heavy synthesizer use, the addition of the keyboard brought the album to new levels, giving it a feeling of peacefulness and tranquility. Further, Thomas Mars has a voice that connects with listeners, and makes them feel as if they are listening live to each track. Even the drum set on this album has a unique feel to it, keeping the music steady, but still injecting excitement into each song.

Phoenix’s style can best be described as an indie-rock mixed with an electronic ambience. They use the traditional guitar, drum set, keyboard, and bass, typical of most rock bands. However, they also use the synthesizer and other electronic elements to revolutionize the genre.

The standout track, “Entertainment,” is the album’s lead single, and features a catchy dance melody reminiscent of a 1980s synthpop jam. Another solid track on the album is “Chloroform,” which is composed of heavy synth hits and a slow drum pattern. Phoenix added another fresh song in “The Real Thing,” a love song which switches the tone of the album to a more longing feel. The closing song, “Oblique City,” completes Phoenix’s style of synth and vocal heavy tunes.

Bankrupt! is different from other Phoenix albums, and other alternative rock music, in that it makes heavy use of synthesizers and other electronic elements. Phoenix created their own niche in the music business by making a unique sound that no one could recreate, a sweet mix of alternative rock and synthpop music, where fans of both genres can come together to enjoy.

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