Foxygen – Hang (UK import)

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Sharing a title with the final track of their prior release, …And Star Power, Hang is the fourth LP from classic rock cognoscenti Foxygen. The duo of singer Sam France and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rado present a dazzling confection here that’s in stark contrast to its erratic 24-track predecessor. Hang’s rather meticulous eight entries find France and Rado accompanied by a 40-plus-piece orchestra for the entire set, which also features appearances from the Lemon Twigs and the Flaming Lips‘ Steven DrozdDrozd, who’s credited not only with drums but tympani, electric guitar, and harpsichord, was not to be outdone by the Lemon Twigs‘ Michael D’Addario, whose work here includes drums and tap dancing. Also Foxygen’s first professional-studio album, Hang was recorded at Vox Studios in Los Angeles with help from, among others, Trey Pollard (Natalie PrassMatthew E. White), who arranged and conducted the orchestra. The band not only justifies but seems to maximize use of all of the above on an exuberant 32-minute LP that keeps upping the ante. Turn the dial to early-’70s AM gold for “Follow the Leader,” with its funky groove, big brass, (surely choreographed) female backing vocalists, and France‘s sassy snarl. Changing gears, “Avalon” touches on Dixieland and ABBA, while “On Lankershim” takes on a sort of countrified Elton John. The album’s centerpiece, however, is the anthemic “America,” a tightly packed five-minute epic musical jambalaya that spans decades of jazz, rock, and show tunes as lyrics admonish: “If you’re already there, then you’re already dead/If you’re living in America.” A self-produced album that’s more musically ambitious and larger in scope than many a Broadway musical, it still has the frenzied wackiness of Foxygen that’s sure to continue to divide listeners. They go all in on Hang, so while it may draw its share of eye rolls, for those who play along, it’s a triumph of extravagance and theatricality served with a wink and a chorus line. Mint.





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