(SXSW 2013 flavoured!) Album Review: Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic
There’s an unwritten rule in music writing. Unless you write for The Sun, thou shalt not refer to anyone as either Lennon, McCartney or Jim Morrison. So when you first slip on Foxygen’s tasty little record ‘We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic’, which sounds like Sergeant Pepper himself got in a fight with The Doors’ 1967 debut; you panic.
This, then, is Foxygen’s second full length record, one as influenced by the late 1960s than even the most Andrew VanWyngardens and Christoper Owenses of the world. As the first track, ‘In the Darkness’ starts to play you may as well be in Peter Blake’s iconic Beatles image, but as the record moves on, you realise that indie geniuses label Jagjaguwar haven’t just signed some wannabe hippies and thrown some money at them; they’ve found a revival. ‘On Blue Mountain’ for example, starts slow and builds into something that’s more than a product of The Doors’ crooning and Elvis’ ‘Suspicious Minds’, it’s the proverbial 2.0 of each. Is it better than either? No. Is it enjoyable, even with knowledge of all that’s come before? Heck yes.
As the record moves on, influences fly about the place, contained in Foxygen’s own little enclosure. They’re a time capsule to a time that many romanticise about, forgetting many of the underlying social and political issues of the time. The post-Cuban missile crisis, post-JFK, Vietnam-era America that was just coming to grips with the idea of racism was one that we’re all mostly behind; and whilst the global economy is in a crippling depression, society’s come a long way in 45 years. ‘We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic’, then, is all the ideology it claims to be on the packaging and as the likes of lead single ‘Shuggie’ (video below) leads to the dramatic sonar ending of ‘Oh No 2’, you’re left wondering if Foxygen could isolate themselves with the likes of Tame Impala and try for a Summer of Love this year. Overall, a solid record, if only it had come out when the sky was so bleak.
Foxygen’s second album ‘We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic’ is now out on Jagjaguwar. The band will be showcasing at this year’s SXSW in Austin in March.