Sam France and Jonathan Rando have never been known for their subtlety. The duo known as Foxygen wear their influences on their sleeve, highly influenced by 80s glam rock. Their latest release Hang reads like a return to the classics, with their most illustrious instrumentation to date.
Following a similar vein to their past releases: Take the Kids off Broadway and We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic, Foxygen takes Hang a step further in the direction of an 80’s revival with immaculate production through the impressive use of a full forty-piece orchestra. Hang features full orchestral arrangements that act as a supporting cast to France’s unique croon throughout the album, if only occasionally burying his voice under a mountain of lush strings and fierce percussion. The instrumentation speaks for itself, and the arrangements reflect a throwback to art rock icons like Lou Reed and David Bowie. Foxygen are shapeshifters at heart, and France can sporadically change a song from a show-stopping psych-rock ballad to the silver screen glamour of baroque pop.
A track like “America” takes on much of this spirit of duality, mixing ragtime, show tune motifs with full, lush glam rock power chords. The commentary in regards to the cliches of America tie in perfectly with the kitschy, theatrical opus, mocking the self-importance of the American dream. “Follow the Leader” features a gripping hook and a pulsing horn theme that follows throughout the track, succeeded by a larger than life breakdown with driving percussion and punchy brass. Clocking at slightly over half an hour, Hang is a little short considering their ambitious arrangements. Experimental and garish, Hang is a prime example of Foxygen pushing the boundaries of psych rock and glam rock with over-the-top production and instrumentation.
Foxygen return to Vancouver on May 25th, touring their fifth studio album, Hang. You can buy tickets online here, or visit either Red Cat locations or Zulu Records.