Noise

Foxygen strikes a groovy balance on ‘Hang’

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Sam France and Jonathan Rado are back at it.
Courtesy
Annie Zaleski

Three and a half stars

Foxygen Hang

Who says today’s indie rock lacks ambition? Foxygen’s Hang marks the first time the psych-pop group has tracked an LP in an actual studio—on two-inch tape, not by computer—and every song on the album features contributions from a symphony orchestra. The resulting music nods playfully to the ’70s—piano-led boogie-woogie, indulgent prog-rock, sizzling funk and Bowie’s glam-blues—refracted by fun-house mirrors.

“Mrs. Adams” is a proggy fever dream halfway between Yes and a lounge act in a leisure suit; the brass-heavy “America” drips with orchestral game-show schmaltz; and high-stepping standout “Avalon” melds fractured kaleidoscope-pop with marching band pep and ABBA’s loopy kitsch. Hang occasionally pours the melodrama on too thick (syrupy slow-burn “Trauma”), but the record mostly strikes a balance between sincerity and grandiosity. Take the encouraging “Rise Up”: As flutes, timpani and strings swirl, Sam France croons, “It’s time to wake up early/Start taking care of your health/And start doing all the hard things.” Foxygen is full of good ideas and executes most of them here.

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