Published Jan 18, 2017Though Hang marks Foxygen's fourth public LP (masterminds Jonathan Rado and Sam France have been recording under that moniker since their high school days), it's the first they've made in a proper studio. To mark the occasion — and in true Foxygen style —they went all out. Recorded in a vintage L.A. studio onto two-inch analog tape, the eight-song album harkens back to the glitz and glamour of old-timey Hollywood — with a 40-piece orchestra on every track, to boot.
The experiment largely pays off. Production was led by Rado, whose production credits on acclaimed 2016 records by Whitney and the Lemon Twigs have made him a rising star in the world of lush, orchestral rock. His delicate touch turns Hang into a rich listening experience, with plenty of subtle sounds and moments to discover on repeated listens. And though Foxygen's previous LP, 2014's ...And Star Power, came off bloated in its worship of Todd Rundgren's landmark Something/Anything?, Hang finds the duo taking a more inspired approach to their fandom, honouring the veteran's exuberant flourishes without sacrificing their own sound in the process.
The orchestral arrangements make Hang the most calculated Foxygen release to date, save for France's vocal stylings. France remains the unhinged vocalist at the fore, but while his spontaneous, lyrical bursts meshed with We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic's '60s rock and Star Power's noisy punk, they're less stylistically fitting here. It's the moments in which France and the instruments work in tandem — notably on the dramatic "Trauma" and finale of "Mrs. Adams" — that demonstrate the stirring potential of the duo's teamwork.
As Foxygen continue with their disparate series of throwback experiments, Hang finds them closer than ever to striking a balance between their wild, ambitious ideas and innate strengths. (Jagjaguwar)