Track Review: Phoenix – “Entertainment”

[Glassnote / Loyauté; 2013]

Back in December, Phoenix revealed that Bankrupt! will ditch the pop overtones of its well-loved predecessor for something experimental and minimal. Admittedly, we’re still two months away from understanding exactly what that means. But if there is one track that Thomas Mars & co. could have chosen to make it look as though they were playing us, it would probably be “Entertainment.” Although the sleight of hand guitars and Mars’ distinctive vocal tresses crop up during the verses, the vast, glassy “China Girl” lead and soaring choruses mark a distensible shift from Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Utter jubilation isn’t enough this time around, they want to knock the wind out of you too. While “Entertainment” may overreach slightly, its imperfections charm rather than annoy. “Once upon a time would take too long,” Mars remarks, and the rest of the band concurs. They sound like there’s no time to even contemplate the past, let alone reminisce.

Bankrupt! is out 4/23 via Glassnote