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New Foxygen album blends psychedelic with cheekiness

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 01:01

Jonathan Rado and Sam France, better known as the bedroom-glam/classic-rock/pop duo, Foxygen, have done it again with their second album fittingly titled, “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic.”

The group’s well-received first album, “Take the Kids Off Broadway,” was steeped in the psychedelic influences of bands like The Rolling Stones and T.Rex and earned them a small, but loyal, following.

While those influences are just as obvious in their sophomore effort, Foxygen manages to pull it off while incorporating fresh new sound devoid of triteness.

The entire album has an aura of cheekiness; it plays off of old-style psychedelia while simultaneously making fun of it. With lyrics such as,“I met your daughter the other day/Well, that was weird/She had rhinoceros-shaped earrings in her ears, but/Hey man have a soda/Its on the house” and constant references to “peace and magic” the tracks poke fun at a lot of the subject matter conveyed in early psychedelic music.

All of the tracks are shimmery with synthesizer, such as “Bowling Trophies” and “No Destruction,” which are dripping with reverb and funky bass-lines. You can even hear trumpet wails on “Bowling Trophies” and the deep bass drum completely soaks your ears in what feels like the sounds of another era. This song should be playing while a band of three or four bikers ride down Route 66 with their hair flying in the breeze — you can hear the sample of revving of motorcycle engines at the end.

The teaser singles they dropped off of the album, “Shuggie” and “San Francisco,” are different styles of glam rock. “Shuggie” is the more complex of the two. The song changes direction about three different times, and the finale uses funky synth progressions that are totally transporting. The song could be background music in a Super 8 reel of a few dissolute, early ’70s youth walking up Haight-Ashbury. “San Francisco” is a cute, straight-forward pop track with almost comically light glockenspiel riffs, and though the song seems very light hearted, with lyrics like “I left my love in San Francisco/that’s okay I was bored anyway/I left my love in a feud/that’s okay I was born in L.A,” there are more meaningful undertones.

The album is like taking a weird, wonderful trip back in time with The Ramones, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones’s love child, if you could also take a trip to the moon and have a witty conversation with an alien over a cream soda. The album is sure to please old fans and new.

“We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Love” is released Jan. 21 via Jagjaguwar

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