Album Review: Foxygen – ‘Hang’

Album Review: Foxygen – ‘Hang’

Foxygen
Hang
(Jagjaguwar Records)

The incredible depth of rich melodies and vast instrumental lines ring out within every track on Hang, the fifth LP from Foxygen. The duo from California already have a deep catalogue, with Hang continuing their prowess of weaving erratic yet cohesive orchestrations together. For those in need of an album that introduces brilliant layering with groovy parts, look no further.

The opening of the record is thunderous, clashing multiple instruments together into one dynamically beautiful song. “Follow The Leader” helps set the tone of the album, but it’s just an umbrella. No song across Hang sounds remotely similar to the next, although they might all have a similar, booming atmosphere. This record moves much like a 70’s or 80’s dance pop record, but without all the synth and instead cleverly attributing instruments to sing their own parts. It’s a bit like the wild vision of David Bowie meets the modern timbre of pop music, but without all the synths. “Avalon” sounds straight out of a musical, with soaring vocals in the chorus and a creeping piano lead to keep the song bouncing along. Hell, I can imagine lyrics running across a television screen with a choreographed dance scene. “Mrs. Adams” is very much in the same light, with an overall motif to keep the songs presence alive, utilizing a vibrant opening that transforms midway into a decorative, almost mournful track without even having the listener know what happened. Needless to say, Foxygen create journeys, not just songs.

And that is why this band just has a certain vibe to them. The only way I can describe it is walking down a crowded street and you see two individuals with a ready to attend and play at your business party vibe. It’s like if the Blues Brothers were just a bit more open to bedazzling their suits. There’s a deceptive mysteriousness to them, but really Foxygen’s two musical creators are willing to open your mind, their souls and let the two mingle. Somewhere in that exotic dance is Hang.

For as vigorous as the opening was, there are songs that are more reflective, like “Trauma.” The song is a bit less energetic, but it packs more emotion into the arrangements, utilizing more drawn out strings instead of the staccato progressions found in the energetic tracks. Everyone has their own grief and trauma, that’s the overall idea behind the lyrics, but finding a way to discuss them can reopen the vessels to love. While the song’s idea is great, it’s a bit hefty, long and overdrawn; definitely being one of the tracks that sticks out in comparison to the rest. This is especially reinforced with the quick paced “Upon A Hill” which progressively picks up the pace with more intriguing instrumentals running along with the beat. But there is something a bit different with some of the latter tracks and their pacing in comparison to the front half. The songs feel a bit less ready for anything and more just, there. Like a slow dance you are half doing because all of the adrenaline running through your veins.

With so many interesting layers in it, Hang presents itself as a lovable record set on helping you find something to take from it. Each track is scattered with a variety of sonically accented rhythms that it is hardly fare not to dissect every 35 seconds of the record. Going into Foxygen’s catalogue only makes it more incredible to hear Hang because it showcases a band still being able to pack a punch with their music, no matter how mind boggling their arrangements may be.

Purchase Hang here.

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