Album Review: Foxygen – Hang

3.5 OUT OF 5 NUTS!

I can’t help but wonder if Foxygen has aims at the stage. The bombastic, luxurious Hang is clearly inspired in parts by show-tunes and the full orchestra they’ve recruited only heightens the dramatic effect.

Songs aside, the record sounds terrific, with each orchestral voice adding another nuanced layer to the piece as a whole. The various instruments are lovingly recorded and produced, truly coming alive on a proper sound system. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just not the speakers on your phone. It’s worth it.

As for the record itself, Hang makes it immediately apparent that the guys in Foxygen clearly have wide-reaching tastes and influences. “Mrs. Adams” channels mid-period Lou Reed’s penchant for heartbreaking story songs. “On Lankershim” could be a lost Fleetwood Mac track. The mid-album centerpiece “America” is a multi-movement prog rock suite. Simply put, there’s a lot going on here and It doesn’t all completely work. The opener “Follow the Leader” is a little cheesy and “yacht-rock,” though it has its own charms. Really, “charm” might be the key word.

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There’s a kind of a live, vaudevillian aspect to this record that ties a lot of the disparate elements together. In this sense, Hang functions almost as a  bizarre variety act led by main members Sam France and Jonathan Rado. The duo, along with a game selection of backing musicians, truly seem willing to throw a lot of stuff at the wall in their fourth record, and the result is lovably scattered and infinitely relistenable. Is the closing track “Rise Up” a little bit bloated and self-important? Sure. Does it matter? Not in the slightest.

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