Exclaim!'s Best of 2013: Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part One



12. Foxygen
We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
(Jagjaguwar))

The ambassadors of this infectious thirty-five-minute psych-rock romp through 1967 are Sam France (vocals) and Jonathan Rado (keys, guitar), a couple of L.A.-raised 22-year-olds with enough band drama in the past year to make beginner's progress on a rock and roll mythology all their own. It's fitting, considering the legendary material France and Rado draw from to deliciously saturate We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic.

The Kinks, Lou Reed, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones are on dead-ringer display here: France's Jagger-esque wails, joyous Hunky Dory-like choruses and a fuzzy melodic bounce akin to the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour all evoke past legends. But that's not to say the duo's second full-length release is an exercise in pure homage; Foxygen jangles and howls through their adopted era's themes with playfully mindful examination, always from the outside looking in.

On "San Francisco", France lingers on lyrics similar to a certain mid-sixties anthem, only here instead of wearing flowers in her hair, the love interest is "bored" and "born in L.A." It's not all sly wordplay, though; sometimes it's as simple and as fun as what France growls on "Oh Yeah": "My roller skates are bitchin'." (Sarah Bauer)