We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Jan 18, 2013 Issue #44 - Best of 2012 - Grimes
Sam France and Jonathan Rado—the young duo behind Foxygen—have a wealth of ideas running through their heads, and probably two sweet-ass record collections. This was evident in the twists and leaps of their all-over-the-map Take the Kids Off Broadway EP, which not only changed styles and genres across its seven tracks, but regularly did so mid-song. When they spoke to Under the Radar last summer, Rado admitted to having several records in the works, including this one, which he described as "sort of like a Kinks record that never came out," and at certain points, that influence is clear. Like its predecessor, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic stubbornly refuses to be pigeonholed into any single genre; but in this release's case, they're at least sticking to the music of one era. The record taps into old AM hippie rock territory ("In the Darkness," "No Destruction," "San Fran"), Motown, soul, acid rock ("On Blue Mountain," the title track), and even classic French pop (in the Melody Nelson-esque "Oh Yeah"). Thanks to a toasty—warm production—courtesy of Richard Swift—that gives it that familiar feel of dollar bin vinyl, the Ambassadors experience can feel like someone rapidly spinning the radio dial between several slamming classic rock and oldies stations. It's a bit frantic, but always spot-on; the band nails each retro style closely, and yet manages to channel them all into one new vision that's wholly Foxygen. Sure, it can be tough to keep up with their pace the whole time, but know that your effort will be rewarded.
In our same recent interview, Foxygen also claimed to be working on a Katy Perry-esque pop record. Perhaps they meant that as a joke, but with a band this willing to try anything, you can't really be sure. (www.foxygen.bandcamp.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10