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CD Review: Phoenix's 'Bankrupt!' -- 3 stars


Phoenix Credit: Phoenix

3 stars

In the fickle universe of modern music, it seems the only constants are skepticism and Justin Timberlake.

After an act has success, it’s natural for listeners to be hopeful for the best, but ready to pile on a lesser effort like a Roman crowd displeased by a gladiator.

Any follow-up by French rockers Phoenix to their breakthrough effort “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” was going to be fraught, but for little reason.

Their synth-forward brand of ’80s replicant pop is ageless by nature, and new album “Bankrupt!” is only slightly off their peak.

Opener “Entertainment” surges with tightly wound energy that carries through the first half. This perfectly enjoyable LP takes then gets interesting, taking an inward turn at the title track, an exercise in near-wordless textures that shows Phoenix is able, if not always willing, to let the gleaming facade crumble and let imperfection take root.

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