Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fleet Foxes

Fleeting Moments

Fleet Foxes – Self-titled (2008)

Sub Pop/Bella Union

Back in June 1999 I bought an album from the now defunct Virgin Megastore. The record was by a group called The Flaming Lips and the album was called ‘The Soft Bulletin’. I had never heard of this band before, nor did I preview the album as mp3 technology was still in it’s infancy and it would take a week to actually download a substantial amount of tracks. It was on the strength of a very positive NME ( it was surprisingly credible back then) review. On my first spin I was amazed and flabbergasted. The orchestral magnificence, the overall warm fuzzy feeling and the ability to make the listener go into another dimension.

Fast forward to June 2008 and while listening to Seattle’s Fleet Foxes debut proper (there was an e.p. preceding this album) and I’m going through the same feelings as that fateful June day in 1999 (well there was a moment in 2004 when The Arcade Fire’s debut made me feel the same way to but that’s another story altogether).

Although Fleet Foxes Modus Operandi is totally different to The Flaming Lips, both manage both manage to evoke a sense of warmth through the use of harmonies and strings (although Fleet Foxes use this effect sparingly) and both have a lead singer with a distinctive voice. In essence the band take their cues from the classic age of Americana (The Band and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, are without doubt big signposts to their sound) but add on a bit of medieval music and some psychedelic flourishes and you can see why this quintet are going to be slobbered on by everyone. Unlike most bands though, Fleet Foxes do not wear their influences on their sleeves (say like Kings of Leon) and thus as a result this debut record stands alone as an original piece of work. In some places it is bare and acoustic (Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, Meadowlarks, Oliver James) and in other areas there is a grandeur splashed among the songs (White Winter Hymnal, Your Protector, He doesn’t know why) Either way within the all too brief 40 mins of this record your skin will crawl, you will feel like curling up with a loved one, you’ll feel harmonious with this world and see the beauty of all that’s around you. I’m not exaggerating. Fleet Foxes is that good and although I have searched for some kind of flaw here, I can’t. It really is a perfect album. Give a few months and Fleet Foxes will be band that will (rightly) be loved and embraced by the many.

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