The question about Foxygen is not to the extent to which Jonathan Rado and Sam France are capable, or talented or whatever – it’s clear that they are bursting with ideas and have the chops to pull them off. The question instead is one of taste. Hang’s core musical ingredient is a 40-piece orchestra arranged by Trey Pollard and Matthew E. White, which adorns each of its eight tracks with a variety of musical gestures compiled by studious, loving analysis of records produced between 1965 and 1975. This ranges from the opening Follow The Leader to On Lankershim, a piano figure winkingly taken verbatim from Tiny Dancer, to Upon A Hill literally having a Scott Walker impersonation on it.
Hang absolutely passes for a record from the era it so lovingly pastiches in the way that Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear or Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s Greatest Palace Music would not. Foxygen’s commitment to the irony is total: this is not just a ridiculous album, but a ridiculous album about being ridiculous. But therein lies the problem. Foxygen don’t seem to believe in anything and their cynicism, for all the filigree detail, eventually feels either childish, or just depressingly blank.
Like this? Try these:
Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Scott Walker – Scott 4
Words: Ian Lamont