04/09/2013 - Phoenix
Bankrupt! is the end result of a process that began almost immediately after Phoenix walked offstage at the end of their last tour. This tour was in support of their Grammy Award-winning, critically-acclaimed and gold-selling fourth album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. In late 2010, the band entered Oscilloscope Laboratories in Manhattan, New York City, and commenced experiments with sound and color.
Bankrupt! is not disposable popular music. Though the songs are quite pleasurable on first listen, subsequent listenings will produce deeper engagement and satisfaction. This is intentional. â€śThis album has more layers,â€ť says Brancowitz. â€śThe more you listen, the more you hear, and the more you really understand whatâ€™s going on. At the same time, we wanted it to be really fluid and simple like a sphere made of marble. You just see a sphere, but thereâ€™s a guy who polished it for a year.â€ť
This simple/complex dichotomy is evident in the pentatonic structure heard throughout the album on songs such as â€śEntertainmentâ€ť and â€śDrakkar Noir,â€ť alongside the Wagnerian overdrive of â€śSOS in Bel-Airâ€ť and â€śOblique City.â€ť Bankrupt! will be a dizzying experience for the listener, also intentional. â€śWe were feeling this vertigo, this feeling of being at the very limit of failure,â€ť says Brancowitz. â€śItâ€™s something we love to explore. After a while you realize the most interesting things in life are not success or triumph. Itâ€™s more the possibility of everything collapsing.â€ť
â€śA lot of it was about mediocrity, about things that are not aspiring to be better,â€ť adds Mars. â€śThatâ€™s something that the band has to fight for every day. Every decision you have to make is a never-ending involvement. The purpose is not to be rebellious, itâ€™s to get rid of something. By doing so, you can be relieved, and you can move on.â€ť
Bankrupt!, then, can be said to be the triumph of accepting failure. Again, it will not solve problems. It may, however, provide catharsis, elation or inspiration.