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Fleet Foxes - self-titled

Released on Sub Pop Records, 6/3/08

“White Winter Hymnal", the second track on Fleet Foxes debut, is a dagger. The band is “folky", but not in the ramshackle, bon vivant, Devendra Banhart-style of “folk” that critics have kneaded into a long-tailed music movement. Fleet Foxes sound more encyclopedic, traveling through dusty record collections on each song. The captured influences make for a good folk rock record, full of dreamy four part harmonies and authoritative fingerpicking.

Lots of bands write the songs they’d want to listen to, but for
Fleet Foxes that effort sounds more earnest. That’s because the music is full and warm. Producer Phil Ek (he worked on modern classics from Built To Spill, The Shins and Band Of Horses) lets the band spread out. Ek’s woozy reverbs pushes the largely acoustic instruments -- namely the voices -- to far out realms.

Folk music is the stuff that started around fires under the stars, centuries ago. It’s nice to imagine songs like “Ragged Wood” and “Meadowlark” in that setting, but it’s also impressive that Fleet Foxes can bring that setting to you.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars