Naturally, the first full length LP from the harmonious Seattle five-piece has my ears. The self-titled album lives in the download circuit until an official June release date (like everything else these days). I always like hearing something as soon as possible, but it’s also nice to get a few runs in before reading a single review (look no further than the last post to see how influential those can be).
It’s a cliché way of describing it, but it has to be said: Fleet Foxes create a world within their music. One that I would sure like to hang in (Neil Young wanders around in it, I don’t know about yours, but he’s an old wizard dude in mine). It’s easy to take cues from the accompanying album art, but there’s enough vastness in this beautiful and complex breakthrough to find your own pasture.
Sun Giant primarily came from the edge of a mountain, whereas this one seems to travel both over hills and through valleys. After adjusting, I can say the added lows on this record work. It’s sunny in all the right places. Take for instance, The vocal jump on track three, “Ragged Wood”, wouldn’t be nearly as effective if it weren’t for the vocal drop at the end of the preceding, “White Winter Hymnal.” This is seen again between tracks four and five. All making the peak that much more rewarding when the ground finally drops halfway through track six, “He Doesn’t Know Why”, and an isolated Robin Pecknold declares:
“There’s nothing. I can do. There’s nothing. I can do. There’s nothing. I can say. There’s nothing I say. I can say.”
And landscapes stretch onward, finding another view atop track ten, “Blue Ridge Mountains.”
We eventually roll back down the hill (with Neil) on modest closer “Oliver James.” The stripped-down focus on that now-classic reverb cements this one a fine way to complete the package.
Along with Sun Giant, this LP might end up on some end-of-year lists. It’s certainly making a run at mine.