Review: Foxygen Hang

by Declan Murphy

How would one describe the music of Foxygen? Part indie, part glam, part “other”—the eclectic rock duo defies conventional description. This has been true of all of Foxygen’s releases to date, but none more so than this year’s Hang. Coming off of the band’s somewhat disappointing …And Star Power,  this new release marks a strong return to form that feels refreshingly new.

Hang reflects a diverse set of influences– Bowie, Elton John, David Byrne, and even ABBA. Drummer Shaun Fleming spent the years between Hang and …And Star Power touring with his solo act, Diane Coffee, and his maturation as a performer is well reflected in this newest release. Fleming leans into his glam influences here, particularly on tracks like “On Lankershim,” and to a lesser extent, “Mrs. Adams”.

As an album, Hang is uneven and disjointed at points. However, when the album hits its highs, it hits them very well. “Follow the Leader” starts the album out on a solid note. “Avalon” is far and away the breakout song of the album, with its bombastic mix of strings, horns, and driving percussion creating an almost theatrical sound. It’s a track that
wouldn’t sound out of place in Mamma Mia, yet is wholly in keeping with the band’s other work. Towards the end of the album, “Upon a Hill” blends horns with more conventional rock instrumentation, leading to a dramatic climax.

The album is not without faults or less-than-stellar tracks. “Upon a Hill” blends directly into “Trauma,” a forgettable track that is all the more underwhelming for coming after one of the album’s highs. The album ends with “Rise Up”, another track that is more miss than hit. Not to mention, at only 32 minutes, Hang will leave you wishing there was more to dissect. But, for all its flaws, Hang does have tracks that rank among the band’s best, and it definitely merits a listen.

3-and-a-half

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