Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Album Review: Foxygen - ...And Star Power

After just over a year and a half after their acclaimed LP We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic, Foxygen is back with their third, full-length release. …And Star Power, the fourth LP from the California duo, sees them “teaming up” with Star Power, a fictional band of their own creation, to complete their most eclectic album yet.

On this 24-song behemoth, the band cycles through multiple genres, including their classic Rolling Stones-inspired rock, folk, psychedelic, punk, and more. The effects of these transitions are lost on the digital version, but each side of genre shift corresponds to a side different side of the record, giving the listener the impression of multiple bands.

The best thing about Foxygen is that they are 100% their own band, and nowhere is that more evident than …And Star Power. This album sounds like nothing that has been done in the memorable past, and certainly isn’t something bands are trying now. The song pairing of “Cold Winter/Freedom” followed by “Can’t Contextualize My Mind” best sum up the pure wildness of this album. Each song starts with slower, milder instrumentation before it devolves into a thrash-rock breakdown with wailing guitars and pianos as lead singer Sam France yells his vocals.

One drawback of the album is that it doesn’t function well as stand-alone songs. With the exception of the two singles “How Can You Really” and “Cosmic Vibrations,” it’s very difficult to pick out and listen to individual songs. This is certainly an album that must be listened to in its entirety to gain a full appreciation of its excellence.

Usually, when a band releases major albums this close together, their style doesn’t make drastic changes. Foxygen, however, defies this notion by completely reinventing the sound that gained them critical acclaim. On the wildly eccentric and schizophrenic …And Star Power, Foxygen masters multiple genres and creates their best album yet.

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