FLEET FOXES by fleet foxes

by Gordon


Pitchfork: 9.0            Rolling Stone: 4/5            Metacritic: 87            Spin: 4/5


Released: June 2008
  1. Sun It Rises
  2. White Winter Hymnal
  3. Ragged Wood
  4. Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
  5. Quiet Houses
  6. He Doesn’t Know Why [LISTEN]

  7. Heard Them Stirring
  8. Your Protector
  9. Meadowlarks
  10. Blue Ridge Mountains
  11. Oliver James

   In the summer of 2008, the Indie scene across the country was stirred with the growing buzz (generated mostly by word of mouth) about a relatively new band with a unique sound dominated by folk, rock and harmonies that could rival The Beach Boys. Also drawing comparisons to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Animal Collective, the 5-piece from Seattle, fronted by long-haired and big-bearded Robin Pecknold, have become one of the most celebrated Independent bands almost overnight.

   The band’s first full-length album, Fleet Foxes, showcases a wide array of musical styles and talents. At times, the songs creep in with promising melody and pace and then make good on the promise in an explosion of rhythm and complimenting instrumentation and singing, like “White Winter Hymnal”, “He Doesn’t Know Why” and “Blue Ridge Mountains” (or, as in the case of “Ragged Wood”, begin with the explosion). At others, things slow down as most instruments are stripped away to allow Pecknold’s emotional vocals, at once both optimistic and haunting, take precedence, such as in “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”, “Meadowlarks” and “Oliver James”. The rest tend to be in-between, all beautifully crafted, and all exhibiting a sound uniquely profound from the next.

   Similar to their Sun Giant EP, It’s an album best served with a sweeping listen, every track worthy of a seat at the table. It never goes anywhere too dark, or yes, too bright, without bringing you back to a beautiful neutral ground that almost puts everything in some kind of personal, listener-created perspective. It’s a perspective that is rich both audibly and also visually, as Pecknold’s lyrics stir up earthy memories of things like dusty photographs on your grandfather’s old wooden table, or the first time you went camping and really experienced a sunrise, or any kind of forest creature snug in its den in a snow-covered field.

   Whether the second album takes to following a similar sound and framework, or abandoning it for something new altogether, this band has earned enough trust for us to say, “We don’t care. Do What feels right.”

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