Foxygen’s “Hang” elevates indie pop


Diego Sultan, Staff Reporter

In music, there is always a fine line between being influenced by an artist and simply ripping off their sound, and the band Foxygen has been known for ripping off classic artists such as David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, along with many more.  However, they take several of their influences and mash them together into single tracks with excellent writing and transitions and it ends up feeling original.   With their new album Hang, Foxygen has added orchestral instrumentation into their rolodex of influences, while continuing to sound innovative.

Similar to their past work, Foxygen has a very schizophrenic songwriting style, as they flip flop from one musical idea to the next.  “America” goes from a kooky yet mystical string and piano section that reminded me of Harry Potter’s score, into a romp of blasting tubas and rapid drumming.  This indecisiveness removes any potential sense of déjà vu that could come with portions of the album, but it also plays into its charm and personality.

Although Hang’s gaudy and over-the-top personality might not sit well with some listeners, it seems to know how ridiculous some of its combinations are, and Foxygen fed into that campiness to make an album that certainly stands out.

Instrumentally, Hang is incredibly layered and nuanced.  More listens revealed more sounds and textures within the production, such as in “On Lankershim,” which features different combinations of strings, organ, horns and guitar to create a wall of beautiful sound.    The vocals on this album will not win X-Factor anytime soon, however, the passion and emotion of the delivery compensates.  At times, the vocals remind me of a strange combination of Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger.

“Rise Up” is an excellent closing track that transitions between punchy, uplifting chants to passages of country organs and twangy guitars during the more mellow section.  The final two minutes of this song build up to a massive conclusion and really create a sense of completion with the record.

Despite feeling complete as a record, it is pretty short, clocking in with eight songs over 32 minutes, which is only a minor complaint.  Although it may seem unfair to complain with how complex the compositions are, a longer album would have been more satisfying.

Overall, this is a great album, and one that is worth a listen.  While the unorthodox nature of this album might be off-putting to some, especially with the questionable vocals, this album presents a unique and beautiful soundscape that makes for a completely entertaining listen from front to back.