Here’s another roundup — probably the last one at this point — of reviews of the new album.
Foxygen seem to know a good idea when they see it, but that doesn’t mean they ignore the bad ones. Their third album is both diamonds and rough – an 82-minute combo plate of half-finished songs, choruses unmoored from verses, bursts of skyscraping beauty and long passages of sonic murk, all vaguely redolent of the Rolling Stones and Jesus Christ Superstar. One side is even subtitled “The Hits,” proving they’re smart enough to know their most appealing material (see highlights like “You & I” and “Flowers”), but smart-assed enough to not care. In 1966, this might have been a radical statement. Today it’s just a facsimile of one.
Foxygen’s new album dropped in my inbox like a brick. I had to double-take the 24-track listing. But don’t let that scare you away. …And Star Power is brilliantly manic psych ward rock ‘n roll. I simply don’t agree with Noel Gallagher when he shat out this gem to Rolling Stone, “How arrogant are these people [Arcade Fire] to think that you’ve got an hour-and-a-half to listen to a fucking record?” Shove it Noel. A lot of us have a measly hour-and-a-half for that thing you claim to love, music. So to quote lead singer Sam France, “hold on to your butts and get ready!”
Foxygen is all of your favorite rock bands spat out as a feral love child roaming the modern music landscape with a heavy dose of Surrealistic Pillow’s influence all over this album. With …And Star Power, Foxygen cements their status as a force that’s here to stay. It’s challenging in the most complimentary of ways, and yet it’s the perfect album to throw on at a raging party.
Overall, …And Star Power is a crazy cool cacophony of different sounds and eras. It creates an unparalleled nostalgic atmosphere. If you are a fan of the group’s last album, …And Star Power may not seem as appealing as its predecessor, but listening to it with an open mind will quickly deliver you into Foxygen’s trippy, vintage, intergalactic, and enchanted realm.
In an age where being attached to a major label means less and less as far as success, Foxygen are allowed to test the limits of what their fans will put up with. And although I think unbridled creativity is a great thing in many cases, perhaps Rado and France could’ve used a few of those old-school record company suits to reel them in.
Maybe everyone should take inspiration from their situation, as they are pretty much living out the American ideal of taking what you want without apologizing. Foxygen were hell-bent on releasing a double album, and they didn’t let anything, not even having only half the songs for one, stand in their way. These two hellraisers should put down the rock biographies and go back to absorbing the songwriting talent of the ’70s instead of just the excesses.
All day I’ve been trying to come up with outdated words to describe this album. Rad? Killer? Kickin’? Foxygen are a classic rock band for the digital age. They always have been. But their new double album, “…And Star Power,” is so classic rock inspired that it explores it as a concept. The album is split into five parts on four sides, all of which represent some faction of a standard classic rock album. And although at 82+ minutes, it’s way, way too long, it provides for an interesting listen as a 24 track album where each song gets crazier than the last.
My favorite aspect of the album is the pure diversity across the songs. Some of the tracks sound like they belong straight out of Motown with incredibly talented, soulful singing, while others sound like they belong to an early Pink Floyd. The early Pink Floyd sound is especially evident with some of the segues and shorter songs. Even from the first song, “Star Power Airlines”, you get a slightly more trippy and acid rock feel to the music than previous albums. Especially when compared to the crisp, clear sound on the majority of their previous album, “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic”, the raw nature of much of the new album gives the band a fresh edge. The song “Cosmic Vibrations” exemplifies this perfectly. The beginning of the song sounds just like a noise collage before it transitions into a 60′s garage rock sounding melody.