Verdict – 8.7
The debut album by the American Indie Folk band, uses a basis of late-60’s pop music to create an innovative and refreshing folk record, with strong vocal harmonies and refined lyrics accompanied by a strong display in instrumentation. The strength of Fleet Foxes is in the ease of how it takes songs that generally may not be popular (common in the folk genre), and manages to make the songs very likeable and accessible.
The album’s best track, White Winter Hymnal, showcases their vocal harmonies as the song progresses and builds up, evoking vivid mental images through their lyrics (turn the white snow red as strawberries in the summertime). He Doesn’t Know Why is probably the most relatable albeit sad tale on the album. Narrating about someone you care about (in this case, a brother) appearing to you after a long absence, unrecognizable and irreparable, though attempting to revert to his original state (Pull the wool over your eyes). The song closes with the helpless bystander coming to terms with it all, “There’s nothing I can do.” Blue Ridge Mountains seems to be about the lead singer’s actual brother, reminiscing about better times with his brother, whom has now seemed to change and drift away from him.
This album will likely affect some listeners far more than others, whereas a lot of people may find this album quite standard fair and a meaningful listen, others will regard this album as one of their favourites. Either way, it is hard not to like Fleet Foxes, the ambition and diversity shown like this on a debut album is seldom heard, and an admirable effort. One of 2008’s best, and as encouraging as a debut can get.
Top Songs – White Winter Hymnal, He Doesn’t Know Why, Blue Ridge Mountains