Review Summary: Simply golden, like the era it was influenced by.
Sometimes you smile because of something and for some reason you somehow can’t help it. This statement describes my feelings for “Take the Kids Off Broadway” by Foxygen. This is nostalgia and psychedelic effect both at their heights. It shines brightly compared to its overproduced, landfill-indie contemporaries. If you are ignoring this release, then you’re being very thick in doing so because this is simply a stroke of artistic genius; a work with unparalleled ingenuity in modern music. Please eager reader, heed my call; listen to this album right ***ing now. Every minute you aren’t listening to this album, you are collectively wasting your life away. This seems a bit fanboy-ish, I know but it’s absolutely spectacular and shouldn’t be missed by anybody.
This album commands your attention like a pseudo-slut Catholic schoolgirl that loves pop-punk and doesn’t give up this attention until its penultimate moment. I can honestly say that no other release has done this quite like this one has for me. I’ve been keeping tabs; I’m on listen number 15 and it’s still getting better…keywords being “still”, “getting” and yes, “better”. Again, don’t write me off as a fanboy, this is THAT good.
Foxygen recounts a golden era of music in its hallucinogen-ridden, lo-fi production and its Bowie-esque theatrics. The song that best exhibits this window of nostalgia is “Make It Known” with its heavenly, dance-floor synths, electric pianos and the vocal delivery contained within its ever glorious sonic endeavors. With all of these elements though, the most prevalent of them is definitely the atmosphere and textures. The vibes produced by this track are indeed good ones. Other areas where the album succeeds is in the singing department; Vocalist Sam France’s voice channels a perfect blend of Mick Jagger and David Bowie, not sounding too much like one or the other. The singing while alongside the trippy sound textures of Foxygen’s music sounds like counterculture paradise, and that should be vastly satisfying for any listener, regardless of personality, mood, or genre preference.
Also stepping out of the Delorean are the lyric sheets, all pumped up with glamour and cheese, but not in any way maudlin enough to turn off a listener. The lyrical content shines brightly amongst the deep, artsy rock of Foxygen. It’s disco without the drivel; in other-words, perfect. Lines like "He’s just retard!” from “Make It Known” have the cheeky delivery and the background support necessary to summon a chuckle from anyone. The lyrics from “Waiting 4 U" when paired with the sassy vocal delivery have just enough weak sentimentality and strategically funky, nonsensical rambling inside them to tickle even the biggest metal head’s pleasure center:
"This..kids of all the..
same sail..when the papers can't came
and then tell me I'm insane
for waitin 4 u babe,
where are those we're not alone
wait on the phone, wait for a little try
wait for a..
wait for a preacher or I'm talking my teacher"
Even when France says even filler words like “Yeah” it strikes a chord with the listener, all due in part to the wonderfully dramatic vocal delivery and the collective sap displayed by the enormously catchy instrumentation. All in all it’s a great combination of musical stylings enough to swing any listener from “like” to “love”.
Now, just because the vocals happen to be the highlight of the album in my opinion doesn’t mean the band doesn’t have solid instrumental skills. Harmonies skip from ear to ear; melodies are as catchy as can be. The band even grooves out a bit; this is made evident by the exuberantly intoxicating 10 minute epic, “Teenage Alien Blues”. In the middle section, appearing abruptly out of the grandiose depths of the trippy textures is an infectious groove bound to cast a dancing spell on any listener. This section especially is the catchiest thing on the LP, with a group shout of “I know a change awaits, awaits”. Listeners are pressured into singing along with a band when a song is this catchy. It appears that Foxygen have pop songwriting down pat.
In conclusion, Foxygen craft a debut LP with unparalleled amounts of imagination in today’s market. This is a serious album of the year contender with its perfectly balanced aspects; it’s maudlin but not nauseating, old but not rehashed, trippy yet accessible and even though this album is accessible it is no way too accessible. As opposed to music that grows old, this music grows new, making for a fresh new experience for every listen. Behold ladies and gentlemen; Foxygen have reached equilibrium.