Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fleet Foxes

I haven't come across a new band that I've been genuinely excited about after listening to their debut album in what feels like a number of months. Thankfully, Fleet Foxes came to me after glancing at a review of their Sun Giant EP at Pitchfork (8.7!). I think I've sufficiently documented my rise and fall of emotions associated with Pitchfork through the years, that now I don't even read the content unless the reviewer has given something above a 8.5. Most of the drivel that is written is almost completely incoherent, asinine, and pretentious that it begs to be ignored. In any event, I checked out the Sun Giant EP through various means, and it really took me by surprise. Firstly, the band is comprised of five guys from the Seattle, WA area named Robin Pecknold (vox/guitar), Skye Skjelset (guitars), Nicholas Peterson (drums), Casey Wescott (keys), and Christian Wargo (bass). The immediate comparisons have to be made to Band of Horses and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. All the lead singers' voices sound similar but each have their own unique ways of phrasing and emphasizing their lyrics. The second thing that struck me was the feeling that I was back in my Music History I classroom (well, the tail end of that semester anyway). The class finally got up to the beginning of the Middle Ages and organized Church music and the very beginning of Madrigals. (If you have know idea what I'm talking about I'm sure wikipedia can answer some of your questions). Fleet Floxes start songs with simple melodies and build harmonies on top of them and keep building and adding nuances as the songs goes along, all while maintaining the original musical thought. In fact, Fleet Foxes describe their music as "baroque harmonic pop jams."

Fleet Foxes is an awesome self-titled debut album. It picks up where the Sun Giant EP left off; me begging to hear more. It's a debut from a band that already has the backing of Über-Indie label Sub-Pop. Their current summer tour is probably the last time you'll be able to see them at 100-200 person venues, because when this album finally comes out on June 3rd it is sure to get them a lot of press. I've honestly listened to the album all the way through at least 10 times in the last week. It hasn't gotten old, stale, or boring. In fact, it's one of those albums that if you listen close enough you may hear something new each time you listen. The music itself is a mix of lush harmonies, acoustic and reverb electric guitar, and folk themed lyrics. All of these elements come together to create tunes that have both a breath of fresh air and old-world charm. So, while they may bear a resemblance to Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket, the Band or Neil Young, Fleet Foxes is something unique and I still can't wait to hear even more. Check out a couple songs:

Fleet Foxes - Quiet Houses
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

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