Tone Deft

“Hang” by Foxygen

By Hanna Schindler
On February 2, 2017

The American indie-rock duo Foxygen released their fifth studio album, "Hang," on Jan. 20, creating a cacophonous medley of vintage quirky instrumentation and a modernized mixing and production style.

On previous albums, including the duo’s debut "Take the Kids Off Broadway" and sophomore LP "We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic," the band established their own versatile sound using a healthy mixture of tonal allusions to greats like Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground.

After releasing the flop record "...And Star Power" in 2014, "Hang" could be seen as a return to the band’s fundamental form.

"Hang" includes the coined unruly and quirky compositional style, which incorporates a plethora of varying genres and musical allusions.

The album includes, stylistically and instrumentally, elements of piano rock, glam rock, psychedelic rock, synthesized beats and even includes subtle theatrics, which are driven equally by the vocals and the instrumentation, giving the album a nuanced entertainment value.

However, in any production that countlessly integrates distinct styles, something is bound to be lost in the mix.

Although the band’s reinvented odes to artists like Lou Reed and Bob Dylan are presumed to be intentional, they are often overpowering.

In songs like "Mrs. Adams," we hear a reference to Reed’s vocal tonality but this seems to be lost at times behind a symphonic set of instrumentation including both powerful horns and strings.

Adversely, in the song "Upon a Hill," we hear an aggregation of vocal allusions that are backed with a theatrical and triumphant orchestration.

This track is mixed seamlessly and incorporates incredibly curated lyricism that acts as a vehicle for the Broadway performance of your dreams.

While theatrics and drama are decidedly positives in my index of musical preferences, this musical theme is not without its shortcomings.

On "Avalon," we hear the track assume a show tune jazz performance, creating almost an artifice that satirizes its own ostentatious performance.

With a sumptuous driven album like "Hang," it may be easier to listen to and admire than fall in love with and thoroughly enjoy.

Through the use of colossal symphonic arrangements and satirical and metaphorical lyricism, we hear Foxygen’s capacity for a lavish but still disciplined and musically theatrical performance.

Decidedly, "Hang" is an artifact that underscores what true commitment to concept can accomplish and just how far artistic freedom can bring a band.

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