in Review

Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic

Oh, I get it “Fox” and “Oxygen” makes “Foxygen”. Well done Foxygen, well done. Surely, I never would have discovered this duo had it not been for Pitchfork and it’s powerful hipster-music radar. What sparked my interest in this album was the retro sound. I appreciate 60s psychedelia for its fearlessness to go to unconventional places. With a title like “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic” it’s safe to say Foxygen goes places. The question being: “Does it feel genuine? Or does it feel like an imitation?”

My immediate reaction was The Rolling Stones circa 1967’s Their Satanic Majesties Request but with less wizards. The vocals have that hint of laid back angst like they have some gripes against “The Man” but are taking too many drugs to do anything in response. The instrumentation feels fancy and nostalgic, with a thumping bass that could make even Bill Wyman crack a smile in his 104-year old face. My favorite song “On Blue Mountain” is the most Jagger-Richards with bluesy breaks and singalong choruses. It’s a complex arrangement, like many of the arrangements on this sophomore effort, but is it too much?

After multiple listenings, I still feel overwhelmed by the girth of each track. Foxygen throws in oodles and caboodles of instruments and explores so many different sections. By the end of a five-minute track, I feel exhausted. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a handful of moments. But if you feel overwhelmed by extravagant production, this is an album you’re going to have to work for.

“Does Foxygen feel like its own band?” Or are they just an amalgamation of the greatest hits of 1967? I’m gonna cop out and say they’re a little bit of both. I do think they rely too heavy on replicating what’s been done but at the same time, they do it at a level no one else can. They’re an intriguing band with an acquired taste. I like the taste, but for the gourmet shit, I’ll listen to actual 60s music.

Favorite Tracks: “No Destruction”, “On Blue Mountain”, “San Francisco”