The duo synonymous with hipsterdom, Foxygen, tackle cosmic experimentation on their third full length release …and Star Power, in which “full length” is an understatement and “experimentation” is a polite way of saying “directionless noise”.
From the beginning, …and Star Power is surprisingly harsh and abrasively uninteresting.
‘Coulda been my love’ is one of the more promising tracks, decorated with a choral “why-y-y-“. If there was nothing on your mind to begin with, it won’t inspire any sort of deep thought, but if you happen to already be lying on a bed in a dorm room, staring up at a ceiling full of plastic glow-in-the-dark planets and stars, half-faded, it just might move you.
And then the intro to ‘Cosmic Vibrations’ charges in and shatters any chance you may have had at actually enjoying yourself over the remainder of the 81 minutes and 46 seconds of dulled weirdness that is this record.
Look, loud experimentation has its place, just ask Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips, who happens to be featured on this album, one of its only redeeming qualities. Unfortunately, in Foxygen’s case, it simply doesn’t feel experimental. Instead, it feels like a pretentious attempt at creating a flower-power renaissance by taking a couple of jingle-jangle guitar sounds, some beeps and blips, and some oohs and ahhs, and running them over with a lawnmower until they are unrecognizable as any kind of sonic expression. Amidst all the chaos and sound, I found myself bored, no matter how hard I tried to “get it”.
Parts of the album are mellower, less chaotic, a nod to the simple, melodic days of (dare I say) The Beatles and the like. And had these parts stood alone and been allowed to grow naturally using the musical roots, which Foxygen may have but apparently deemed unnecessary for the making of this album, they may have helped to create something appealing. But the way they are shoved blindly into the rest of the mix makes them feel cold and soulless, with very few exceptions. There is a glimpse of sincerity in ‘You & I’, which is enough to make you remember the things about this pair that you liked on the truly enjoyable We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, but it’s not quite enough to forgive the lack of inspiration gained after spending nearly an hour and a half feeling cheated by the promise of the resurrection of glorious musical freedom. I can only hope that these guys return to their senses for the next album.