US - Washington - Full Moon 144 - 06/18/08
Sub Pop / Bella Union
This young band has gained a lot of exposure lately and hailed as one of the possible next big things. Let's give them a chance anyway.
This is the Foxes debut album after two EP releases. Here's FF's own description of themselves, from the band's MySpace page: 'We're a group of five from Seattle that sing for the fun of it and are into all kinds of music. We'd call this stuff baroque harmonic pop jams.' As might be suspected, FF is not your average Sub Pop and Seattle grunge group. They admit they're 'not much of a rock band'. Instead they look south, to sunny California and offer a nice blend of pop, singer-songwriter stuff, light psychedelia, folk, country, hymns and more. The vocal harmonies are exquisite, not unlike what combos like The Beach Boys or The Mamas And The Papas offered in their heydays in the 1960s. FF is inspired by lots of artist from that era onwards to this very day; they inform us in the vast thanks-list on the album insert.
My favourite songs of the album give me a nice lazy summer feel, even if it's cold and raining outside (still sunshine in my stomach), even "White Winter Hymnal" and the spring song "Ragged Wood". They are pushed forward by acoustic stringed instruments and vocals from more than one voice. And that instrumental interplay between piano and electric guitar (or bass?) towards the end of "Quiet Houses" with quite a few nods in direction of Beach Boy Brian Wilson at his creative peak is simply sublime. And then we have that haunting little soft wordless song "Heard Them Stirring" etc. ... Eventually some of the songs, especially towards the end of the album, threaten to turn the overall impression into a too soft affair. A couple of them have too much flair of school choirboy solo hymns for my liking. But the better part of Fleet Foxes (the album that is) might turn out to be the soundtrack of the summer of 2008.
Fleet Foxes (still the album, CD-album that is) and the accompanying EP Sun Giant will supposedly be released as a double vinyl album later this summer.
Copyright © 2008 JP