Album Review: Foxygen’s “Take the Kids Off Broadway”

Foxygen’s debut album, “Take the Kids Off Broadway,” is a chaotic concoction of sound from start to finish — and that is meant in the best way possible. The album is composed of experimental, psychedelic songs that repeatedly defy any traditional song format. Often complex and always mesmerizing, the group’s 2012 album fuses stylistic elements from the past six decades while still producing an impressively original sound.

The first track gives listeners a preview of what they are in for. It has no distinct refrain, and instead is comprised of an obscene amount of melodies that are all equally catchy and distracting. The group bounces from one riff to another in seconds, absurdly juggling spontaneity as if it is a walk in the park.

The singing of lead vocalist Sam France adds an exciting dynamic to each song. On “Waitin’ 4 U,” France’s growl is shockingly Jagger-esque. Every track features the versatility of both his deep, bellowing voice and his theatrical falsetto. The album is full of creepy chants, echoing horn parts and quirky call-and-response sections. A disorienting fuzz of channeled energy can be heard throughout.

The highlight of the album is the 10-minute-long “Teenage Alien Blues.” Drastic tempo changes at the most unexpected times seem to be Foxygen’s trademark; this technique is used twice within the first minute of this song. From beneath the cacophony, a marching rhythm eventually enters until the band’s pounding unison hits. Incessant organ, the clangy guitar of Jonathan Rado, a hazy foghorn and droning chants are all accounted for on the remainder of the track.

The album’s last song is also its most straightforward, and it somehow misses the mark as the closer to such an experimental album. A poppy and semi-irritating piano drives the majority of the song, though luckily Rado’s strong guitar instrumentation makes up for it.

“Take the Kids Off Broadway” is one of those albums that you will either love or hate. The organized chaos can initially give sensory overload, but each listen provides a new, complex array of subtle sounds. The album’s blend of modern and classic-rock instills an excitement for the future of music. So give it a listen, let it ferment, and listen another ten times. It’s an enigma.