Pitchfork Gives “…And Star Power” a 7.0

Pitchfork has released their review of “…And Star Power”, giving it a 7.0. The review is largely along the lines of most other positive reviews, critiquing some of the excesses but noting the many great moments throughout:

Despite its double-album girth, …And Star Power feels less like a ’70s-rock masterwork than a ’90s indie patchwork in the tradition of Pavement’s Wowee Zowee, Sebadoh’s III, the Olivia Tremor Control’s Dusk at Cubist Castle, and Ween’s earliest brown-outs. This is an album you get lost inside—you don’t so much listen to its four-sided sprawl as free-fall into its increasingly deranged depths. Its kitchen-sink messthetic (parts of which were rendered in Rado’s actual kitchen) encompasses pristine power pop, stoner country-rock, a four-part title-track suite (overture included) that introduces the band’s punk-alter-ego-cum-pirate-radio-station Star Power, space-age bachelor-pad synth doodles, Lou Reed-copping junkie poetry, acid-folk rambles reminiscent of Syd Barrett, Feelies-esque jabber-jangle; and a song that sounds like Suicide crashing a Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello beach party. And that’s all before we’ve even reached Side Three (the one accurately subtitled “Scream: A Journey Through Hell”).


In its most fully realized moments, …And Star Power is the album Todd Rundgren could’ve released between Something/Anything? and A Wizard, a True Star, its best songs striking an uncanny balance between the exquisite balladry of the former and the progged-out fantasias of the latter. True, the Runt referentialism is beyond blatant: lead single “How Can You Really” is a perfect mirror reflection of “I Saw the Light”, while “Star Power IV: Ooh Ooh” distills the candlelit intimacy of “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference” into a quick post-coital cuddle. (The press release for …And Star Power actually summarizes the album’s ethos—“rock and roll for the skull”—by quoting Patti Smith’s original Creem magazine review of A Wizard, a True Star. Even this band’s self-aggrandizement comes second-hand.)

But for all their shameless appropriation, Foxygen have become increasingly assured and accomplished songwriters, outfitting standouts like “Coulda Been My Love” (the ironically serene source of the intra-band acrimony mentioned at the top of this review), “Cannibal Holocaust”, and “Everyone Needs Love” not just with silken soft-focus melodies and heavenly harmonies, but ever-evolving arrangements that steer the songs into surprising, splendorous new directions without losing the throughline. At their best, a Foxygen song is like that drunk who seems destined to topple over, only to turn their stumble into a perfect pirouette.


Accordingly, the impenetrable “Cold Winter/Freedom” is preceded by an endearing little snippet of an eight-year-old France’s earliest recording forays, wherein he acts as the on-air announcer for his own imaginary radio station. “Hold onto your butts and get ready!” little Sam declares, and, in essence, …And Star Power is Foxygen’s attempt to recapture that sort of innocence and wide-eyed enthusiasm after a prolonged, public struggle to keep their shit together. But the retroactive warning is nonetheless appreciated: …And Star Power is a long, bumpy ride back to where Foxygen once belonged, and, at times, your butt is bound to feel sore.

Read the full review here.

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