Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic

by Scott Carney
January 8th, 2013

Like Tame Impala or Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Foxygen is yet another modern band that proudly wears its psychedelic influences on its sleeve, at once embracing the sounds of yesteryear while creating something new and innovative. The duo, comprised of Jonathan Rado and Sam France, garnered praise in 2012 for the release of their EP Take the Kids Off Broadway, which giddily shifted from psych-rock to doo-wop to funk, sometimes within the course of a single song. The EP was my most-listened to album of 2012, and hopes were high for the release of their first proper full-length, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic, released on Jagjaguwar Records. Thankfully, the duo does not disappoint, and though the production is less manic than on their highly addictive EP, it still makes for a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable listen.

Foxygen constantly keeps listeners on their toes, radically shifting between genres and styles. The album kicks off in a grand fashion with the opening track “In The Darkness,” channeling early Electric Light Orchestra, then shifts into Kinks-esque country with “No Destruction.” The duo dips into AM sunshine pop with their tribute to “San Francisco,” then immediately revels in the sleazy biker blues-rock of “Bowling Trophies.” “Shuggie,” one of the album’s highlights, combines bachelor pad funk with choral pop, while also paying homage to Shuggie Otis (whom the song gets its namesake). The album closes beautifully with “Oh No 2,” a spacey symphonic ode that would make Spacemen 3 proud.

Fast, frenetic, but never dull, Foxygen's debut LP is well worth a listen.Though firmly rooted in the past, Foxygen looks forward, combining familiar musical elements into a unique and utterly listenable whole.