Foxygen
Hang


4.0
excellent

Review

by A : w.e.b. CONTRIBUTOR (100 Reviews)
January 20th, 2017 | 63 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The kids have returned to Broadway.

Foxygen have never really followed up on their promises. Frustratingly eclectic and indecisive in which direction they wish to go, the pair that makes up Foxygen, Sam France and Jonathan Rado, are always seemingly at odds as to what they want Foxygen to be in exact. Their past three efforts, most notably the bloated and unashamedly Rundgrenesque …And Star Power, have all followed a specific formula in which they take their influences and use them so excessively to a point where it’s near-plagiarism. Don’t get me wrong, Foxygen has created some intriguing music, but there’s always been a vague idea that their stuff is most likely lifting from Todd Rundgren, Marc Bolan and so on. On Hang, this trend necessarily doesn’t meet an end, but it’s less obvious they’re probably ripping off some other song (the ”Baby Love”-like chorus of ”Avalon” being an exception) and instead using them in a way that adds to the music presented. The concept of Hang is quite simple when compared to the gargantuan Star Power in that it goes for a singular idea rather than aiming for making the next Something/Anything? – America. There’s few mentions of the land itself aside from the song named after it (and the various cynical lines spouted out throughout the track as well), but moreso the musical culture of an America distant from the one of today.

Opener ”Follow The Leader” is immediate, unabashedly revealing what Foxygen is up to. There’s no trace of the band who previously did relatively lightweight indie rock, but a band seeking more ambitious realms, complete with a hilariously grating Jagger/Curry impression being the constant companion to these overwhelmingly American songs. The vaudevillian glam of ”Avalon” expands further upon the band’s ambition with a heavily orchestrated composition accompanying France and Rado, revealing another side to Foxygen that really brings out the power in their works that has rarely been seen in their more sparsely produced material. On each and every song, there’s always a constant that drives the work onward, whether it be the T.Rex-inspired ”Mrs. Adams” or the Harry Nilsson-ish ”America”, in which both flirt with striving for a unique sound outside of the band’s sphere of influence, but are restricted by their lack of personality. However, this notable absence of persona is compensated greatly by the mere fact that the songs are highly enjoyable. There’s not a dull moment to be had on the thirty or so minutes of Hang, which is perhaps its most defining attribute.

The exact complication of its predecessor, Hang does get extremely too excessive for its own good in the limpid showtunes cop-out ”Upon a Hill”, where France gets far too invested in his Mick Jagger posturing and just has to sing about wild flamingos dancing on spaceships – it ultimately goes nowhere and begs the question of its inclusion; and it’s perfectly paired with the equally pointless Eagles-sounding ”On Lankershim” that struggles to break free from its country leanings and ends up returning to the same sound as almost every single song that makes up Hang. Consistency plays a part in the quality of Foxygen’s works and Hang ends up being one of the more stable things they’ve put out in recent years thanks in no part to its first half and the dramatic pomp of closer ”Rise Up”, a song that spurts out cliché after cliché to inspire you to “pull yourself up from the fires of hell”, “to believe in yourself” and most definitely remember that what you were looking for all along was certainly with you this entire time. Subtle, it is not.

Foxygen, for the most part, have never followed up on their promises. In describing their latest work, they described it as “going to Disneyland”, due to its baroque pop leanings that evoke thoughts of Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson. For all its shortcomings, spontaneous excitement and entertaining homages to the musical landscape of an olden America long gone, Hang is more like going to Broadway rather than Disneyland. You think you’re going to get flamingos dancing on spaceships and eclectic third-rate Rocky Horror-esque glam sessions at Disneyland? Get real.



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3.4
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Huge instrumentation and eccentric vocals create a fun, enjoyable album...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2017


12777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

how can you really?



"Follow The Leader": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-tZ1gbc2pQ

"America": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sUUGgWeeqE

"On Lankershim": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-DM0TThIhM

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 19th 2017


23847 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

You've been reviewing every album I'm interested in lately

Digging: Lorde - Melodrama

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2017


12777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

this is actually their first album i've really taken to



i've liked stuff from the first three, but this may be their best yet

deathschool
January 19th 2017


21656 Comments


What if I can't hang?

Digging: indigoNowhere - World I

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2017


12777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

A very important omission - I really, really hate musicals and this is essentially one big musical distilled into an album and it just hams it up all the way. There's zero shame in how they relentlessly ape Tim Curry on some of these songs and I love it.



deathschule - then h a n g

dreamgazing
January 19th 2017


1293 Comments


hey this is a good review pos

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2017


12777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

thank

theBoneyKing
January 19th 2017


9628 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, pos



Gonna jam tomorrow

Digging: Guy Clark - Old No. 1

TVC15
January 19th 2017


8032 Comments


Sweet new review

Digging: Murmuure - Murmuure

StickFeit
January 20th 2017


429 Comments


Good review Fripper!
Will check this out later today

theBoneyKing
January 20th 2017


9628 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just listened, this is definitely over the top, cheesy, etc but you know what it's fun and the band clearly aren't taking themselves too seriously, otherwise this might've been insufferable. The short runtime is essential too, if it were much longer it would probably have started to push my patience.

Chortles
January 20th 2017


20339 Comments


nice rev fripperboy

band sucks tho

Digging: Susanne Sundfor - The Brothel

theBoneyKing
January 20th 2017


9628 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fwiw this is probably better than We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors, haven't heard the others though

wtferrothorn
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2017


5609 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Can the leader singer please stop with all the vibrato on Trauma



otherwise this is a fine record

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 20th 2017


23847 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

this is next on my list of things to check out after the new AFI

Funeralopolis
January 20th 2017


14026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

stoked to check this I love take the kids off broadway

Digging: Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up

MarsKid
January 20th 2017


4773 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never heard of these guys, but I'm liking what I'm hearing.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2017


12731 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

eurgh what a pile of cheese

Digging: The Roots - Things Fall Apart

MarsKid
January 20th 2017


4773 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Delicious cheese

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 20th 2017


23847 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Alright so this is going to take more getting used to than I thought. The samples had me excited but listening to a full album of this guy's vocals set to a broadway style musical is getting on my last nerve. Hoping this will be one of those things that I find irritating at first and then end up loving.



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