The Thermals’ 7th studio album comes out Friday, March 25 on Saddle Creek Records. Our Wendy Worzalla reviews.
With Hang, Foxygen mines new nostalgic territory to cobble together something like a bizarre yacht rock opera. A forty-plus piece orchestra and completely analog production sets the stage for and offers cohesion to an odd progression of goofy show tunes, funk infused smooth rock, and even an upbeat country-fried ballad. It’s a wild ride.
This most recent bout of classic rock tinkering is likely to be more divisive than Foxygen’s previous releases, each of which offered a different blend of familiar influences, but all had a scrappier, lo-fi aesthetic in common. On Hang, Foxygen’s songwriting duo, Sam France and Jonathan Rado, strip away the spring reverb, delay, and tape hiss, instead offering clearer, drier vocals and higher fidelity production. Fans hoping for more of the ‘60s-era Anglophilia for which Foxygen has come to be known might be disappointed by the new direction in which the band has veered. On the other hand, they have expanded their referential palette in unexpected ways that might gain them congratulations from listeners who favor the dramatic flare of ‘70s chart toppers.
The combination of France’s exaggerated vibrato and the monolithic orchestration makes it difficult to tell if Hang is meant to lampoon its constellation of reference points, or if it celebrates them. Ultimately, Hang comes off more as a novelty album than a work of sincerity, but maybe that’s the point? It’s honestly kind of hard to tell.»
– Christopher Klarer