Harmonies, rounds, and soaring strings (including a violin bow on a guitar) embedded in the roots of rock makes them sound quintessentially American. I know that trite perspective on this Seattle band is overdone, but it’s as hard to avoid such analysis as it is to find fault in their execution. Here’s what the buzz has been saying:
“mingling the Celtic and pastoral with Beach Boys harmonies and crashing Americana into moments of real darkness and disarming pop bliss” [the pastoral vibe is emphasized by their self-titled’s cover art, a painting by Pieter Bruegel]
“It is easy to sneer at young men fetishising old music, but Fleet Foxes handle their antecedents with panache … All this musical experience comes couched in a breezy innocence which never becomes cloying.”
To take a closer look at Fleet Foxes, watch the stop-motion video for White Winter Hymnal here. Download He Doesn’t Know Why. Watch their Black Cab Session. Listen to their concert at The Black Cat in DC, courtesy of NPR. Check out their Daytrotter session that features downloads of the songs drops in the River and Sun Giant from the Sun Giant EP, and Sun It Rises and White Winter Hymnal from their self-titled CD.
I think it’s wise to listen closely to the album, and to apply what band member Robin Pecknold told Drowned In Sound regarding the painting gracing the cover of their 2008 release:
“When you first see that painting it’s very bucolic, but when you look closer there’s all this really strange stuff going on, like dudes defecating coins into the river and people on fire, people carving a live sheep, this weird dude who looks like a tree root sitting around with a dog. There’s all this really weird stuff going on. I liked that the first impression is that it’s just pretty, but then you realise that the scene is this weird chaos. I like that you can’t really take it for what it is, that you’re first impression of it is wrong.”