Foxygen’s Latest Lacks ‘Star Power’
Foxygen seemed to enchant listeners after releasing the debut album “We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic” in 2013 (following 2012’s EP “Take the Kids Off Broadway”). It had a whimsical, slightly archaic sound to it, suggesting a promisingly unique addition to the indie music world. The duo then decided to test that fame right away, releasing “…And Star Power” (Jagjaguwar) just this last Tuesday.
Lasting 81 minutes, the album is noticeably longer than the sweet and short “21st Century Ambassadors,” but for no reason whatsoever.
What started out as a whimsically antique sound quickly transitioned to work more off of the latter description, to such an extent that it’s almost obnoxiously generic and reminiscent of any and every psychedelic rock band that existed in the 1960’s, complete with headache-inducing drone that lacks any kind of symbolic meaning. The album opens with “Star Power Airlines,” a thrashing minute of loud guitars and drums, finishing on lead singer Sam France muttering “society man” into the mic.
Although you’d expect the quick, loud track to suggest an equally powerful beginning, it immediately sinks to a lower pace with the single “How Can You Really,” a simple and pleasant melody that begs for afternoon airplay on KCRW. The tempo only slows even more as Foxygen brings to the table a formula that becomes sickeningly overused throughout the album.
“Cosmic Vibrations” starts on a similar banging thrash as “Star Power Airlines” and sinks lower and lower to the point of a boring drone, suddenly changing to loud guitars and avant-garde screams. Formula is as follows: slow, thrash, slow down some more, then offer some loud, overbearing choirs in the last minute or so.
This continues into “Star Powers I-IV,” a pathetic attempt at creating some sort of artistic structure in the song.
Rather, it appears as a poor copy of Arcade Fire’s style of creating layers to a song within multiple songs. The Star Powers themselves have no variety and simply torture listeners with more ambient screaming and guitar notes.
The tracks following these supply the same formula mentioned earlier. The worst is “666,” a quick minute and a half of children mindlessly babbling and counting to eight, emphasis on “six for the devil.”
“Flowers” and “Hot Summer” are more of the same and “Cold Winter/Freedom” is a lovely (not) extended version of this. It’s a track that sounds like something you only hear at a show, when the band decides to make an impromptu, extended version of a song.
The last half of the album clings onto this drone-thrash formula until the end, closing on “Everyone Needs Love,” which ends, of course, with loud, booming guitar riffs. A voice chants, “Music will make you dance, music will make you move,” but in this case the album just made me want to crawl into a hole and listen to something better.
“…And Star Power” sounds like some kids from the 1960s fucking around in their basement on a school night. It’s nauseatingly anachronistic with piano chords and bass that lack variety. Its music meant to stay in the basement, at least until they can add some structure to it.
NOT RECOMMENDED: Messy, derivative and discordant, “…And Star Power” is frankly a chore to listen to.