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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent album that just sags a bit towards the end
Foxygen are an interesting new band that can sound at times like a psychadelic era Rolling Stones, and at other times more like MGMT. If you like the former element then the first album has the edge. I would have given it an enthusiastic 5 stars but for the tendency for it to start to sag a bit towards the end. A word of warning to those who are obsessed with sound...
Published 14 months ago by FiftySomething

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Foxygen - The summer of love?
An album that can be located in sticky Marmite territory. As you know if your a fan of the sticky, dark brown paste you will love it alternatively the "I hate Marmite" facebook page has nearly a quarter of million members and is growing. In terms of music reviews it has torn the jury asunder. Pitchfork has given it 8.4 out of 10 while the Quietus has given it zero...
Published 19 months ago by Red on Black


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new, but still fantastic, 27 Jan 2013
The influences here are obvious - Bob Dylan's trademark off-key drawl on "No Destruction", The Rolling Stones on the title track and melodies worthy of Lennon and McCartney on songs such as "Shuggie" and opener "In the Darkness". So while Foxygen's new album doesn't bring anything particularly new or fresh to the table, it remains an enjoyable listening experience. One of the best albums of 2013 so far - highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Foxygen - The summer of love?, 24 Jan 2013
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Red on Black - See all my reviews
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This review is from: We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors (Audio CD)
An album that can be located in sticky Marmite territory. As you know if your a fan of the sticky, dark brown paste you will love it alternatively the "I hate Marmite" facebook page has nearly a quarter of million members and is growing. In terms of music reviews it has torn the jury asunder. Pitchfork has given it 8.4 out of 10 while the Quietus has given it zero. Foxygen comprise the young talents of Sam France and Johnathan Rado from Los Angeles. Look at a picture of this duo full of flower power affectations and sixties memorabilia and you wonder whether they don't decamp to San Francisco's Haight Asbury district and roll the clock back 50 years? With this observation in mind, is it a surprise that the album does include a very nice song dedicated to that city which sounds like a Donovan outtake? Plus genuinely try not to laugh at the line "I left my love in San Francisco/ (That's okay, I was born in L.A.)". As it stands "We are the 21st Ambassadors of Peace & Magic" is an album where it is not so much spot the influences as the nagging doubt that somewhere lawyers may be hovering waiting to serve writs for copyright infringement. Shades of the Beatles, Stones, Dylan and Kinks are all over this album like Eden Hazard on a Swansea ball-boy and what you must decide dear listener is whether this is purely derivative or infused with such a sense of playful pop fun that you cast aside all doubts and just enjoy. Let us take a case study the song "On Blue Mountain" . Within its structure you can detect clear references to" Suspicious minds" by Elvis and "Under my thumb" by the Stones along with some Arthur Brown and Doors. Does this make the song any less enjoyable? The answer is no, but if a band pinching riffs, melodies and much else in bold magpie style irritates you to the point of burning hatred please stay clear. If alternatively you want to explore further perhaps the recognition that your tongue should be firmly planted in your cheek is the starting point and clearly the band itself are not taking themselves that seriously.

Opener "In the darkness" is pure Ray Davies but is a great song. Equally "No Destruction" is treated by the band as if it should be on "Blonde on Blonde" and would have been a Dylan classic if he wrote it. But listen again on another occasion and it could be a rewrite of the Velvets "Rock n Roll"! For this reviewer the humour of the first part of the album carries it and repeat visits are in order. Sadly by the end of the album the charm disappears and the game of Karaoke guesswork becomes tiresome. Thus "Oh Yeah" borrows riffs from Prince and T Rex (so what?), while the title track is a sub Stones meets the Cramps effort which has been repeated more times than Dads Army on BBC 2. There is also a technical term for the Beatles like wailing of the final track "Oh no" and the phrase is "absolute b@ll@cks". On the plus side this band are having a great time yet "We are the 21st Ambassadors of Peace & Magic" can surely only be a one off? On balance "Foxygen" pull it off this time and there is enough here to suggest a level of invention that may eventually match more original bands like Tame Impala whose take on traditional rock followed by freak out psychedelia is far more innovative. In the final analysis there is enough humour and pastiche here to raise a warm smile. Lets see if its a stayer.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Summer, Babe (Winter Version), 28 Jan 2013
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This review is from: We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors (Audio CD)
I don't know much about Foxygen; they are another postmillennial indie rock duo, they're from California and this is their second album. Now, awful moniker aside (from Wayne's World, no less), that in itself should be enough to generate a wave of apathy so powerful that you could quite possibly yawn yourself inside out, if only you could be bothered. Fortunately for everyone, Foxygen sound like all of your favourite sixties bands all being played at once. I spotted Dylan, Bowie, the Velvet Underground, Sly Stone, the Lovin' Spoonful, a bit of Donovan and even a bit of Marvin Gaye - and that was in just one song (No Destruction). Obviously, any band of an indie rock bent that crawls out of California cannot and will not escape comparisons to Pavement and Foxygen are no different. Just like the perpetually sun-drenched vibes of Best Coast, it really must be something they put in the orange juice.

Anyway, I want to keep this one short and sweet. Foxygen might not be the most original or inventive band of 2013 but they do have a breezy quality in their music that might just bring some colour to your cheeks. Maybe, as the UK crawls out from beneath the January snow, we can lay off any passing resemblances to the P band for now and just enjoy the sun on our faces for the next 36 minutes.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull, retrograde rubbish, 15 Feb 2014
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This review is from: We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors (Audio CD)
Sometimes, music recommendations from friends can be winners. Sometimes, you wonder what you're missing. And sometimes, you get a recommendation that's so far off the mark you wonder whether your friend has been replaced by an android. The recommendation to listen to this Foxygen album falls into the last category.

First, the name of the band. Foxygen. Nope. That's embarrassingly naff. Go away.

Second, the music. Derivative, dull, unimaginative. Regurgitating the music of your heroes without a spark of wit? That ain't gonna work.

Finally, if you are going to form a band featuring such concepts as "singing" and "vocals", you might want to find a singer who can actually sing, instead of randomly getting a blundering tone deaf idiot in off the street to record your album. Dear God, the vocals are so far out of tune it hurts.

"Epic fail".
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bland sugary 60s retro pop, 15 Mar 2014
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This review is from: We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors (Audio CD)
Hmmm, yet another album I bought in the new year that disappoints. What's with all these end of year lists raving over music that's mediocre or at best 'quite good'? Okay, so this is just my opinion and perhaps therein lies the problem, however I don't hear anything in this album that goes beyond 'average'.

The songs may be retro (and believe me that's no bad thing in my books), but I feel a better term in this case would be 'derivative'. They sound almost like a cliché of 60's pop and not what 60's pop really sounded like. In short, it sounds uninspired, like a band who didn't do their homework and instead tried to sound like every 60's artist they could think of. The only song that connected with me in any way was 'No Destruction'. The song 'San Francisco' could've been a good one too if it weren't so sugary-sweet. The vocals aren't terrible, but they are far from good. Even the band name 'Foxygen' is cringe-worthy. I mentioned this band in a pub recently and the response I got was "what a rubbish name!" (I tell a lie...they didn't use the word rubbish...)

Rant over, and onto the things I actually liked. Well the musicianship wont win any awards but its pretty good. I admire the band for not adhering to basic song structure, instead they start here - end there. However, (and In fairness to those who love this album) I can't really find anything truly bad about this album. Its also fair to say that I like similar bands that are just as derivative ('Cosmic Rough Riders' or 'The Fast Camels' spring to mind), however, this album for whatever reason might be, doesn't work for me, hence the three stars.
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