They’ve a twinkle in their eye and a tongue in their cheek – all their glammy hippy stomp needs is you
“Foxygen is Sam France, Rado and whoever the fuck else we think is glamorous,” reads the New Yorkers’ Facebook blurb. Now, it might seem slightly silly to reference the social media page of a band who deliberately drench themselves in ’60s mysticism, but from these 14 words you can get a pretty good sense of what they’re all about. Sure, there’s an element of humour here – hell, you’d have to be the most intolerable twats on Earth to call your album ‘We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic’ without having a slight twinkle in your eye – but this band are no joke. From their unhinged live shows to the knowingly freewheelin’, free-lovin’ and absolutely ridiculous record title, Foxygen clearly breathe these vibes through every glamorous pore.
‘…Peace & Magic’ marks the duo out as genuine oddities, music makers full of irreverence, wit, silliness, wild experimentalism, genuine musical brilliance and weirdness. If that sounds like an incomprehensible mix, that’ll be because Foxygen see things differently to pretty much every other band around right now. Each track on this, their first full-length record following 2011 EP ‘Take The Kids Off Broadway’, combines about five tracks in one and laces each with lyrics seemingly plucked from the warped mind of an acid-soaked Mad Hatter.
It should be a complete mess, yet somehow, it isn’t. Or if it is, then it’s a really bloody enjoyable one. ‘Shuggie’ morphs from a sensual slice of lounge music to a choral glam-rock stomp and back again, before briefly descending into instrumental funk and re-emerging as a joyous, hippy singalong. ‘Oh Yeah’, meanwhile, manages to rhyme “arms and legs” with “bacon and eggs” while sounding, in parts, like Jagger fronting ‘Pound For Pound’-era Royal Trux and, in other parts, like the twisted best bits of MGMT.
Then there’s the title track, a mind-bending floorfiller that pits ’60s wig-outs against a load of nonsensical, unhinged yelps. And ‘San Francisco’, which floats by on a twinkle of flutes and xylophones, with France’s vocal as smooth as a doe-eyed crooner as he serenades a girl whose eyes are “like a cup of tea”. It’s almost narcotically mellow, the kind of song that’s best listened to in a blissed-out, summer fug – preferably while making daisy chains and staring at clouds shaped like woodland animals. Clearly, this is excellent.
In ‘…Peace & Magic’, then, Foxygen have managed to spray every shade from their bizarre, Technicolor imaginations onto a record that bursts with lovable eccentricities, but never tries too hard. In the gloom of January, surely we could all do with a touch more glamour.