THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Wild California experimentalism with an assist from Hicksville
Foxygen’s new album, “Hang” (Jagjaguwar), needs the aural equivalent of one of those moments in “Sherlock” where everything slows down and Holmes explains all the leaps his brain has made to us mere mortals.
Take “Avalon,” where it sounds like singer Sam France is doing a David Bowie impression and is somehow at war with Abba, played here by Hicksville’s Brian and Michael D’Addario of The Lemon Twigs. The dizzying battle rages over a 40-piece orchestral arrangement that shifts between Dixieland jazz and ’70s album rock and even changes time signatures at one point so it sounds like we are falling down a hole.
“America” moves from a waltz to what sounds like a chase scene in a Broadway musical to big band jazz and back again, while France croons, “If you’re already there, then you’re already dead if you’re living in America. Our heroes aren’t brave, they’ve just got nothing to lose.”
“Hang” sounds fascinating, though confusing. Even at its most straightforward, on the single “Follow the Leader,” with its Boz Scaggs groove and its disco-strings flourishes, it’s not really clear where we’re heading. But the ride sure is fun.