Review Summary: Fleet Foxes tickle your ear-drum with beautiful acoustic melodies and pleasant vocal harmonies with their self-titled full length release.
Fleet Foxes is a wonderfully fitting name for this Seattle-based quintet. It paints an elaborate portrait of the purity of nature and its ties with humanity. Typically, this isn't the kind of music I really seek out, but I'm not one to shun something simply because its different from my taste. A (ginger) friend of mine gave me this album and I was pleasantly surprised. The songs on this album have similar structure to one another, but each has a different mood to convey so it doesn't end up sounding recycled. With powerful singing refrains and captivating guitar arrangements, this CD doesn't tire quickly.
They quickly set the mood with Sun it Rises
. It's a happy tune, laden with about 4-5 vocal harmonies, that sounds reminiscent of a traditional Civil War era song. It sparks each of your five senses. With the chanting of "Red squirrel in the morning...
" You can practically smell the dew on the leaves of the forest. From the very first track, its difficult not to already love this album.
As the album progresses, you realize that no one song trumps the rest. Each one will have you singing the chorus after the very first time you've heard it. White Winter Hymnal
and Ragged Wood
while both very different songs, are equally good. White Winter picks up in an almost "row-row-row-your-boat" sing-song fashion. It continues on repeating the main refrain throughout the song with some tasteful "oo-oo's" thrown in. Ragged Wood
on the other hand, doesn't have a safe sing-a-long formula. Instead, this is a heartfelt song about the innocence of love. While one of the less mellow songs on the record, it still maintains that fresh sense of life that makes Fleet Foxes so appealing.
The lyrics are relatively simple, but very fitting to the mood of the CD. Those the emphasis is not so much on the lyrics as it is the vocal harmonies. Each one is so well-arranged and never pushed to the limit of "Okay...I've had enough." The drums are tasteful and never draw away from the song, which in essence adds to it.
However, there is one very large flaw to this album...these guys can not
end a song to save their lives. For instance, Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
is a somber tune that has you hooked from the get-go. Then comes, what seems to me should be, the middle of the song where lead singer Robin Pecknold
coo's "I don't know what I have done/I'm turning myself to a demon."
While the line echoes through your head and you think its going to take you somewhere else, it doesn't. It fades out drastically, leaving you uncomfortably hanging...and not in a good way. This curse plagues other tracks such as Quiet Houses
and He Doesn't Know Why
. Each either have a ridiculous left-field finish, or just fade out before the song has really set in.
Despite that major faux-pas, I still greatly enjoy this record but that's why its simply a 3.5 when it could have easily merited a higher score. They definitely deserve the critical acclaim they're receiving with this release. A worth-while purchase for fans of any type of music.
White Winter Hymnal
He Doesn't Know Why