4.2.13

Foxygen - We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic | Elusive Little Comments

Via Jagjaguwar
Last year singer-songwriter duo Foxygen burst onto the scene with one of my favourite EPs Take The Kids Off Broadway. The twosome of Sam French and Jonathan Rado created an extremely fun sound which was heavily influenced by the likes of The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Kinks and more. Now these guys are signed to Jagjaguwar and have released new album We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic, which offers more of that wonderful retro sound.

This time around Foxygen take a more straight forward direction with their sound. Packing a ton of poppy hooks and diversions into some fairly standard song structures, tracks such as the opener In The Darkness provide a strong start to what will become a very entertaining record. It reminds me a lot of MGMT’s last album Congratulations with its chirpy instrumentation performed under a slightly murky production.

Foxygen stand out from the other old school revival acts because of their interpretation of artists such as The Doors and David Bowie. Everyone and their dog knows what a song of theirs sound like, and Foxygen have taken little snippets of that accessibility and manipulated simple song structures into complex soundscapes using keyboards and synthesisers and vocal harmonies which really stick them at a whole other level of old school revival bands. Shuggie is the perfect track which takes all of the basic old school elements and comes out as a brand new piece of music. It’s pretty much the gem of 21st Century Ambassadors.

What makes this record stand out from the other old-school revival albums is the amount of personality Foxygen throw into the nine tracks. San Francisco in particular features a really sugar-sweet piano riff and a drum beat which makes the whole thing sound really pleasant. This instrumentation fits in really well with France’s adolescent vocals and the “That’s okay, I was bored anyway” backing vocal really adds a lot of personality and character to the track.

There’s a bit too much of a Rolling Stones vibe going on throughout On Blue Mountain. The vocals especially bring out the Jagger-like qualities with a slightly breathy voice that attempts to exhale as much emotion as possible before inhaling another hit of Gimme Shelter or I Got The Blues. While this slightly ruins the track a little, Foxygen do retain a strong instrumentation that picks up the pace with added guitar, piano and backing vocals which really drive the track towards the chorus.

Peace & Magic is a crazy Flintstones’ version of your typical rock and roll song. Complete with bouncing jangly guitar and various yells and screams in the background, this track really brings a lot of edge and straight forward energy from the slower groove of Oh Yeah. Final track Oh No is the perfect closer for this record. It is full of down hearted synth and agonising vocals which really make the listener realise that the record’s act is nearly over even though it clearly wants to remain in the spotlight.  

Foxygen have done a fantastic job with We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic. Once again they prove that they can make even the oldest of sounds exciting again with a modern twist. Each of the nine tracks on this album is a chapter for a very colourful and emotional play, all of which succeed in conveying the intended mood. These guys are certainly a talented bunch, and this is something I will enjoy for the rest of the year for sure.

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