Foxygen have made a “feel-good” record in Hang, and have started 2017 with music that drips positivity like water from a faucet. This baroque/ psychedelic pop band have emerged as pop music headliners for their busting, buzzing sounds and Sam France’s classic rock vocals. These California natives sound like British rock legends in heir new album Hang, which makes it my album choice of the week.
I love when an album makes me feel fresh and rejuvenated, and Hang might as well be a musical shower for your soul. In 8 tracks, Foxygen give indie rock-pop sonics that blossom like the sun hitting the night sky to transform it in morning, through the bright sounds and the cooing vocals of Sam France. If someone told me he stole his vocal prowess from Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury, I would believe it and keep it secret. He has a mixture of sullen and soft that makes his clear lyricism murmur forward into the ears and hearts of listeners. France manages to deliver lines with hints of sexiness that are not gregarious or desperate for attention. Instead, he comes off like a man bustling with passion for life and readying to swindle yours. Part danger/ part dazzling, his voice helps to make Hang feel like a surprising odyssey backed by Jonathan Rado’s synthetic compositions/ folksy instrumentals.
While Foxygen is known for its psychedelia, there is something “folksy” about Hang in arrangements that turns its from a mindful trip to a spiritual travel. Hang has to be one of Foxygen’s most brazen attempts to not go above the minds of listeners but into their hearts. I note the difference as, usually, psychedelia is all about abstraction and making the known feel unknown, which is why it is beloved as a music that plays with people’s minds. Yet, folk music toys with people’s hearts and tries to refresh the relevance of life. Hang does that through lyrics that are observant and even heartbreaking like in songs “Trauma” and “Rise Up” where France quakes his vocals into a lava of hope breaking through a harsh, volcano of a situation. Thematically, Hang comes off like a quiet lessons on how to celebrate life again post- disappointments. We all have had dark moments where we swore to ourselves that next time we faced a potential “trauma”, we would protect our inner light with more fervor. In these ballads, you, especially, feel the bigness of Foxygen’s desires to make an album that moved people like a classic, Mozart opus. Still, there are tracks that will make you sway as Foxygen always does like,”Mrs. Adams” “On Lankershim”, and “Avalon”, which have to be the brightest songs of the album. Yet, Hang’s tussles with light and darkness are all apart of a bigger, more soulful picture.
I loved Hang, in part, because I felt its spirit. You can hear its vastness and soul throughout every note Sam France hits and chord Jonathan Rado strikes, and listeners will enjoy witnessing this dynamic duo reach a new height for themselves. Personally, I like hearing the effort anyone makes to outdo themselves and go bigger and better than ever. Now on their fifth album, Foxygen have done exactly that: outdone themselves. For More Information On Foxygen and To Buy Hang On January 20 Click Here.