Foxygen’s second album ‘We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic‘ seemed to be a breakthrough for the duo. The album much more clean production than their original lo-fi sound and it sounded brilliant for channeling their homage of music from the 60s and 70s into catchy little songs. This album ‘…And Star Power’ sees them return to a more lo-fi approach, with an album spanning 82 minutes over 24 songs. Yes, 82 boring minutes.
Prepare to be disappointed with this album, even if you’re the biggest fan in the world of their first two albums. This is a fine example of a band wanting to look ambitious but not putting the effort in to actually fulfill their ambition. Opening the album, there are a few songs that are pretty okay, nothing to get offended over. There are some decent ideas floating around that aren’t executed too well. By track 6 (the first of a four part song) though, this album feels almost fully and completely tedious. It becomes a matter of trying to just count down the minutes and tracks until the album has actually finished. So many of the songs on here just sound like ‘an idea’ as I said before, but there’s nothing else to keep it going. So many of these ideas will fall flat within seconds of it opening, due to the uninspired, uninteresting performances instrumentally, lyrically and vocally. Even the most ambitious part (on the surface level) on the album the four ‘Star Power’ songs, sound like filler rather than an inspired piece of music. The songs link together in the most sloppy ways imaginable. Like they haven’t even listened back over what they’ve just recorded.
Every now and again they will actually make a song that sounds tolerable, but with 24 songs it would be very worrying if they hadn’t got anything at all. There will occasionally be a melody that sticks (something they were always brilliant at) or a lyric that gets me, but nothing as a whole. This LP kind of feels like they’ve thrown together a whole bunch of demos tapes they had lying around and decided to just keep them how they are and record them in a studio in one take, with no mixing. After all of these demos they also decide to throw in some noise pieces in there to try and make it sound like some sort of deep concept album, it fails at doing so.
Before this album came out there was lots of rumours about tensions within the band, and it definitely shows on record. This is a band who’s first two albums were brilliant at paying homage to artists they were inspired by and managed to make some brilliantly concise and catchy songs out of them. Whereas this is a record with a couple of ideas spread over an hour and 20 minutes, butter spread over to much bread if you will.