Foxygen are back with two new singles and a record early next year. Their first record We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic had too long of a title and was too short of a record. Their second record …And Star Power, was a pun on continuing the first record’s title. Also, it was way too long on purpose. At over 80 minutes, Robert Pollard thought they should have done some editing.
We have two new songs here, both chamber pop, AOR, dad rock, 70’s explosions. “America” has tempo changes, Elton John winks, left turns and David Bowie impressions. It is the kind of song that spends 5 minutes looking at itself in the mirror, wondering if people will like it. It is painfully self-aware as it tries to be jazz, ABBA, some sort of alternate world soundtrack to Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. And all of this happens before the 1930’s jaunt feel that kicks in at around 3:45. If it sounds overstuffed, that’s because it is the audio equivalent of lobster, stuffed with cheese, stuffed with tacos, stuffed with popsicles. All the pieces are fine as stand alones, but is there any discernible reason why these elements are present in the song? The melody is workable and the production is superb. Why not just leave those elements and call it a record? Around the 4th tempo change, I am looking for the track skip button.
The other track, “Follow the Leader” sounds like a college exercise in making the most 70’s sounding track possible. When Sam France croons “You’re never going to be what I want” its hard not to take that as a meta commentary on the song itself, or the album, or the band. The frustrating part about Foxygen is the rabbit trails they follow in production and pacing of songs. These songs could be so much stronger if they didn’t go in 25 directions. France has a great voice, I’d love to hear it when he isn’t doing an impression of someone.