Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes

By: Dennis Cook

Welcoming one like some lost Carter Family recording that dissolves into an early '70s David Crosby hashish morning fantasia, the debut full-length from Fleet Foxes is majestically inviting, a tintinnabulous cascade of lovely things that combines "hey-nonny-nonny" antique folksiness, starchild sky gazing, liquid twang and a shimmering vocal blend into something massively intoxicating.

Often as much madrigal as modern rock ("Tiger Mountain Peasant Song"), the album ebbs & flows with the smoothness of tides, so unforced and natural that you hardly notice each rise or drop until you're already in motion. Below it all, a craftsman's undertow pulls us, the force of long hours spent honing a sound and building in small, perfect touches – the balalaika on the incongruously sprightly "Quiet House," the military drums of "He Doesn't Know Why" that culminate in the briefest open-top barroom piano coda, the wordless breeze of "Heard Them Stirring." Each cut has similarly cool elements adorning fine songwriting ever bolstered by producer Phil Ek (Built To Spill, The Shins, Band of Horses), who keeps the top down so everything breaths and flutters in the open air.

"Ragged Wood" and "Your Protector" could slot in smoothly on My Morning Jacket's It Still Moves, and really can you pay a modern band a better compliment? Jim James is a tough tiger to chase and this band is hot on his trail. Frankly, one would be hard pressed to choose a better spirit animal. Like MMJ, many cuts wander into places you just can't see coming when they begin but work because of a well-tuned internal logic. To wit, "Blue Ridge Mountains," which begins as a Renaissance throwback, builds to '70s singer-songwriter wistfulness and peaks with a keyboard hook reminiscent of Ryuichi Sakamato's theme to Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence before ultimately pulling us out of the "shivering darkness" with "morning light" ensnared by their music.

While the Sun Giant EP was full of golden promise ("Drops In The River" is one of THE songs of '08), it would have been unreasonable to expect Fleet Foxes (released June 3 on Sub Pop) to be this good. The relentless, pastoral flow is swell but what brings you back are the barbs in their thicket. Sweetness is fine but Fleet Foxes operate on multiple levels, charming and tickling gently, a butterfly lighting on our branches; beautiful, intricate but fragile as a feeling, a prayer, a closely held dream. See if you don't chase them into the woods after being exposed to this one.

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[Published on: 6/4/08]

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Comments

Robusto Wed 6/4/2008 09:54AM
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Robusto

Can't enough Fleet Foxes!!!!!!!!!!!!

1048 Wed 6/4/2008 11:45AM
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1048

Seriously, one of my favorite LP's this year. Check it out or I'll rape you

mcarroll starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/4/2008 11:50AM
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mcarroll

Best debut LP of the year so far. The Sun Giant EP is also phenomenal from start to finish.

1048 starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/4/2008 12:29PM
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1048

You two are free from my raping...

good job

Robusto Wed 6/4/2008 12:46PM
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Robusto

Gee thanks. LOL.

Robusto Wed 6/4/2008 12:48PM
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Robusto

PS. Eric > if you don't have the EP, you're seriously missing out.

1048 starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/4/2008 02:18PM
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1048

Oh I got the EP and it's the shit.

Christian Wed 6/4/2008 04:30PM
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This album is full of great songs!

manjotar starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/4/2008 06:45PM
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manjotar

my new favorite, although i have to admit i grabbed it off the internet about 2 months ago... BUT, i will be buying it off them in person when i see them on july 7th! because it's worth every penny. i hope they release it on vinyl, that would make me ecstatic!

Bohemiandude starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/5/2008 06:38AM
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Bohemiandude

Fleet Foxes has made one of those awesome LP's that you just can't quit listening to....GREAT WORK GUYS!!!!

snappy Thu 6/5/2008 07:32AM
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mcarroll starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/5/2008 11:26AM
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mcarroll

From the above link:

"The glorious gate-fold vinyl LP version, by the way, comes with a digital download code, AND includes the Sun Giant EP on a second, enclosed, largely complimentary (and certainly complementary) piece of vinyl! This, it seems worth mentioning, is currently the only way to get Sun Giant on vinyl."

moemoe6434 Fri 6/6/2008 12:18PM
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So for only $2 extra you get all the tunes digitally,you get the LPs AND an extra EP!?!?!?!

leclairm21 Fri 6/6/2008 12:24PM
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Sub Pop is always good to their vinyl customers. Can't wait to pick this one up...

hardingmr starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/10/2008 04:22PM
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GET THIS LP NOW!!! I think all I did this past weekend was flip this thing from side a to side b and back again for two days. If you like MMJ you probably have already heard of these guys, if not get get with it already. BTW "Drops in the River" is good but it is in no way shape or form as magnificent as "Mykonos".

sandytowne starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/11/2008 01:27PM
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I've had the EP for a while now; listen to it almost everyday. I guess I have to go get the full album from all the good stuff I've heard.

aburtch starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/25/2008 08:52AM
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aburtch

I just picked up the full length album and it's fantastic! Love the vocal harmonies and the heavy sounds on here. Kind of like a southern-California jam at the height of the CSN folk/rock era. Highly recommended. (I don't get the My Morning Jacket comparison though..)

 
 

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