“We’re never gonna turn time back,” Foxygen’s co-creator Sam France admits on Sleeping With Other People. It’s a revelatory statement for France, who with multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rado cemented Foxygen like a Hollywood star on the Walk of Fame for nostalgic and uncanny pop-rock on early records Take The Kids Off Broadway and We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic.
Their next grouping of albums – …And Star Power and Hang, drove gamely off-course, with dense orchestration and fandangled concept tracks. So to hear France admit his powerlessness against the eternal death march, while bouncing with Rado between Bruce Springsteen homage, mid-eighties synth guitar and Mick Jagger wails, is to experience the band as wildly talented as ever, but also a bit damaged.
Within the economy of nine tracks (“…an album of singles,” France reminds label Jagjaguwar in his press letter), Rado and France cook up delicious time warps, demonstrating Rado’s intense growth as a producer, who since …And Star Power has influenced the success of Whitney, The Lemon Twigs, and others.
From the opening track “News”, which barges in with France on grand piano, to the “Conclusion” (a sun-drunk soul track suggesting “We should just be friends”), Sleeping With Other People leaves few popular genres between 1975 to 1985 behind, while keeping one foot firmly in the present. The past is celebrated, not investigated; a fine strategy for maintaining sanity.