Foxygen
...And Star Power


3.0
good

Review

by HalcyonMusic USER (8 Reviews)
December 11th, 2014 | 9 replies


Release Date: 10/14/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You can have me, but I’m all used up.

It must be a terrible burden, being the self-appointed torchbearers of musical generations long passed. Foxygen’s Sam France and Jonathan Rado have a history of chaos and conflict, manifested in onstage rants, cancelled tours, infighting, and the occasional broken limb. Surely the stress of their unenviable position is to blame, with ...And Star Power being but an outlet. At eighty-two minutes, the album sprawls, a self-indulgent experiment in excess that pays tribute not only to the sixties and seventies, but to their own playful image. It falls between refined retro-rock and visceral noise, ignoring the discipline of their two prior releases. The result is scattered, inconsequential, and yet, despite its pretensions, far too much fun to dislike.

After all, if you lack the musical ideas to sustain twenty-four tracks across four distinct sides, you may as well commit to charm and enthusiasm. The opening polish of ‘How Can You Really’ is an anomaly in an album otherwise drenched in tape hiss and irreverent lyricism. ‘Cosmic Vibrations’ channels a lo-fi Skip Spence, restlessly moving from its placid, drawled verses to its bright, uplifting finish. The musical quadtych of ‘Star Power I-IV’ jumps from hook to hook, throwing in hints of Reed, Rundgren, and Jagger without stopping to check if the inspirations stick. The tongue-in-cheek humour and self-awareness pays off, and everything feels so personal and innocent: ‘Cold Winter / Freedom’ opens with a recording of a younger France hosting his imaginary radio station. ‘This is the third tape’, he proclaims. ‘Hold on to your butts and get ready.’

Perhaps it’s fitting. The third side - ‘Scream: Journey Through Hell’ - is the most abrasive, and notably the weakest. It’s a pretentious mess of disjointed protopunk, dragging through misplaced hollering and anarchic structures. ‘Can’t Contextualize My Mind’ shoots for psychedelic but collapses into distorted lo-fi screeching. ‘The Game’ attempts to praise Barrett, but ends up a bitter parody. The only gem in the this scatter is ‘Brooklyn Police Station’, a love letter to seventies pop-rock whose chorus is a triumphant pastiche of the era. It’s this stretch of the LP where Richard Swift’s absence is most keenly felt; without his production experience and compositional criticism, there’s nothing to steer France and Rado from their more erratic experiments. The outcome is a bloated mess, too overblown to enjoy.

Their ambition is admirable. ...And Star Power is nothing if not audacious, reeling from one idea to the next, with little heed given to the result. It’s a zealous reflection of Foxygen’s personality, diving after their desires with only a cursory offer given to the listener to follow. Their style hasn’t changed: France’s smooth vocals, effortlessly imitative, dance between emotive and restrained. The instrumentation captures both their joyous bombast and their quieter balladry. All the pieces are in place, but here, they’re tossed about haphazardly, existing only to serve the album’s conceptualising. It may not be as rewarding as Take The Kids Off Broadway or Ambassadors, but ...And Star Power reproduces the reckless fun of their past, and we’re welcome to it.



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user ratings (79)
Chart.
2.6
average
other reviews of this album
thekilleruser (2.5)
Uninspired and messy....


Comments:Add a Comment 
HalcyonMusic
December 10th 2014


85 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/...and-star-power/id902694730

Not much is coming out for the next month, so I'll probably spend some time cleaning up some missed reviews from 2014. If I do another new release soon, it'll be Culprate's Deliverance, but that's still not certain (it's a good album, check it out).

This is a quick review for a hilariously polarising album, just check the user ratings for proof.

3.0

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
December 10th 2014


6681 Comments


very good review man pos'd. my only issue is that I hate when people use "pretentious" to describe sounds. it really irks me for some reason, idk

HalcyonMusic
December 10th 2014


85 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh, trust me, as much as the term is misused, it fits that third side perfectly. Definitely an understandable peeve though.



I really enjoyed your Al Jalloum review by the way, the imagery worked perfectly.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
December 10th 2014


6681 Comments


fair enough, I'll take your word for it

thanks man, did you check out the album?

HalcyonMusic
December 10th 2014


85 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sure did. I don't usually listen to drone but it held my attention, was definitely an engaging listen.

HalcyonMusic
December 10th 2014


85 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is Rado's fourth LP in three years as main songwriter. If they weren't so manic with their releases and just cultivated their best ideas every few years, they'd be an absolute goldmine.





jsaf7
December 10th 2014


387 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Yea, good review man... I thought the album was too amateurish and sloppy at first, but there some interesting moments here and there... Glad someone finally reviewed this...

FUbrenden
July 10th 2015


28 Comments


I want to like this so much more than I do. Their most recent single "24 Hour Lover Man" has got me hard though.

hamid95
November 4th 2015


632 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

What in seven hells is the deal with this band live?

I thought I'd stumbled into the wrong gig.



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