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Album review: Foxygen ‘…And Star Power’

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on October 9, 2014

Two discs of genre hopping, era jumping, busy-ass pop. Foxygen have done it again.

We begin …And Star Power by travelling through a void of guitar noise, feedback and, if the next few tunes are anything to go by, time. ‘How Can You Really’ starts off the musical section – and starts it off in style. The first single to come out of the album, it was the ultimate reintroduction to Foxygen; chockers with brass, ’50s West Coast sweetness and the memory of a video covered in lycra, glitter and hair.

Moments of comparison to The Mamas and the Papas from the days of ‘San Francisco’ come swinging back in the third track, ‘Coulda Been My Love’ with the forlorn jazz of Norah Jones added for good measure.

But then, suddenly, everything changes.‘Cosmic Vibrations’ races back into the void, pushing the line from gorgeous ditty to dark ode, to deep voices and slow, minimalist movement. Being a Foxygen song, it never strays too far, seamlessly transitioning back in a brighter jazzy tune by the end. The track marks the signature of the entire album – diverse as shit, traipsing between noisy mess and gorgeous lilt, begging to be turned up just a little louder. A Foxygen album seems to be pretty similar to an episode of Doctor Who: an endlessly exciting journey through time and space – oh, and it’s bigger on the inside ;)

The darkness flows back in through the sickly-sweet ‘You & I’, stealing all the air that Foxygen thrust back in with the ‘Star Power’ series. Filled with words, stories and sound effects from another universe, the set of four songs are both catchy and cheesier than my belly was after I discovered you could get haloumi in chip form. The ‘Star Power’s really feel like Foxygen are looking over their shoulders to the past, contesting the writing rights to ‘Flash Lightning’.

I Don’t Have Anything/The Gate’ is a theatrical, solemn lo-fi tune. It instantly grabs your attention, ready for the sweet, sweet magic of the album to really climax with the synth-induced delirium that is ‘Mattress Warehouse’. Featuring random bursts of brass and questions of where Mike is, we’re once again reminded of a Doctor Who storyline – albeit one a little less contemporary.

The smorgasbord of goods (look, we started talking about cheese, don’t expect me to stop now) unfortunately makes it easy to tune out or lose focus by this point. Twenty four tracks is a big investment, but if anyone can return on that investment, it is Foxygen. And while the album as a whole could do with a little more structure, if you can manage to tune in for the best moments, it’s undoubtedly worth it. Personal highlights include ‘Flowers’, ‘The Game’ and ‘Everyone Needs Love’.

And Star Power is wild and varied business. It’s worth starting from the middle after you’ve had a couple of listens, as a way to maintain your attention span. Each track seems like it’s from a new planet, rather than one albums, and no matter where you start; it’s all out of this world.

8/10 Tardis Stops

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