US - New York / US - California / US - Washington - Full Moon 202 - 02/25/13
We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Foxygen are messers Sam France and Jonathan Rado. Yup, another non-fearsome twosome, and like, say, MGMT, they launch bubbly, sparkling, vital pop-rock. We Are the
21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic is 'the sound of cool'. This is grand theft pop music, for sure, but Foxygen are getting away with it. Simply because We
Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic is so delicious.
Some two years ago (May 2011) the Foxygen boys nervously handed a CD-r (of their self-released EP/mini-album Take the Kids Off Broadway) to
singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer/short-film maker (and now also a member of The Shins) Richard Swift. Swift was immediately turned on, and he mixed parts
of the album to be re-released (by Jagjaguwar) in 2012. Now, here's their first full album proper, and We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic turns
out to suit its title rather well. Like their label states: 'Foxygen takes "swagger", that as-of-late misused adjective, back
once and for all. It's flipping pyramids old and new upside down'. We Are... was recorded at Swift's neo-legendary National Freedom studio in Oregon, and
as a result the Foxygen-Swift combination has come up with 'a cocksure joyride across California psychedelia with a burning,
bursting punk rock engine'. (Jagjaguwar).
We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic is a rollercoaster of an album, as it runs through the popular music of the 60s and the 70s, yes even the
80s through the 00s in a twirl. Like someone tried to describe them: 'It's like listening to The Kinks on acid.' Imagine
a big, black kettle boiling with The Beatles, The Kinks, David Bowie, ELO, the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, and several more, spiced with The Seeds, Pavement,
Daniel Johnston, and many, many more. "On Blue Mountain" is a good example, as it almost runs through the history of popular music in 5:50. The song's twisting and turning,
flexing musical colours as a chameleon; the chorus change in a split-second from the Rolling Stones- "Under My Thumb" to Prez' "Suspicious Minds". "San Francisco" has got
this heavy nod back to Scott McKenzie's "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)" (written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas). Foxygen recorded their
"San Francisco" the very year McKenzie died, but.. where McKenzie's song was a thoroughbred peace&love anthem of the summer of hippie love, Foxygen's song is more like
a tongue-in-cheek (broken) love song. 'I left my love in San Francisco/(That's okay, I was bored anyway)...'.
One thing that's for sure; We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic is not boring. It's catchy, smart, cocky, funny, bouncy, perfectly lengthy
(as it clocks in at some 37 minutes). And, it's 'history' as well, both as in 'lesson', and as becoming 'a classic'.
Copyright © 2013 Håvard Oppøyen