We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
After a barrage of EP’s and one full length album (that was released less than a year ago mind you), Foxygen was seemingly just another good garage/indie band that for the most part, I thought would perpetually be flying under the radar. Well with their sophomore effort We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic that was just released last week, they quickly proved that they offer much more than the “under-the-rader” stigma I tagged them with. Uponst my ears hearing the first few sounds of this wistful album, my brain responded by telling me that I must be listening to a Rolling Stones or Beatles psychedelic era recording. The opening track, “In The Darkness” perfectly collides the two worlds of Beatles-esque harmonies and pop vibes with the gritty garage-rock sound of the early Stones. And strap yourself in, because this trip down memory lane certainly doesn’t end there.
Moving on to track two, we are slowed down just a bit from the happily bouncing psych-rhythms and focus more so on a mellow Mick Jagger-esque vocal with lyrics that sound like they were strung together from the poet laureate of rock ‘n’ roll Bob Dylan himself. After just these first two tracks, I was completely smitten, and if you are any sort of lover of 60’s rock/pop/british invasion era music, you will be too.
Psychedelic rock seems to be booming back these days. Bands like Tame Impala and MGMT have explored new ways to bring psych sounds back in a relevant way. The good news is that it isn’t getting old, nor is it being overused. Foxygen’s edge differs quite a great deal from the former two. More remenescent to something of a less gritty The Redwalls for those of you who remember their brief stint in the mid 2000’s, or an even better example yet would be The Brian Jonestown Massacre. More or less, these bands and including Foxygen seem to really be thriving on more of a basic classic rock melody style. Tame Impala and MGMT both resort to hypersonic-psychedelic in which you will be taken on many long and trippy progressive rock moments that are incredibly sonically charged. This leads to a lot of fun, and a helluva lot of swaying, but you won’t find these moments on the regular in Foxygen’s material. Instead they focus more on the roots of where this music came from.
When it comes down to it, even the album title really speaks to what the album is trying to accomplish. I believe they really consider themselves to be current 21st century ambassadors of this brand of peaceful and magical music. The name almost seams like a play on Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, or Their Satanic Majesties’ Request, which were The Beatles’ and The Rolling Stones’ respectively claims to psychedelic fame. The Brian Jonestown Massacre, who as I mentioned are also notable forerunners for Foxygen’s brand of modern psychedelic rock from which they draw heavy influence, actually even named their fourth album Her Satanic Majesty’s Second Request. As if their band name wasn’t already a shout out enough to Stones (specifically their earlier lineup).
At any rate, these comparisons are not just for comparisons sake. They are essentially to establish the exact genetic makeup that Foxygen is comprised of. They don’t carry so much of a purely psychedelic sound, but rather a fusion of the psychedelic era as well as the grungy garage rock era of their forefathers. From the happy-go-lucky vibrations of “San Francisco” with it’s magical vocal interplay and light and airy atmosphere, to the funky rhythm and soul of “Oh Yeah”, even down to the dark nooks and crannies of the final track “Oh No 2”; each song is comprised of everything we love about the bands that precede them. Which makes for an incredibly enjoyable listen if you’re into that sort of thing. And also makes for my favorite album of the year so far. I know that isn’t saying much only being 30 days into the 2013 year, but I don’t see it moving too incredibly far down my list in the next 12 months either. Had this album came out a month earlier, it surely would have made my favorites of 2012 list. Needless to say, this baby will be on heavy rotation for a while, and I’d suggest you give it a spin or two as well. It’s hard to imagine anyone would regret it.
Can’t Miss: “In the Darkness”, “San Francisco”, “No Destruction”, “Oh Yeah”
Can’t Hit: None