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131 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hold me dear, into the night
The Fleet Foxes are a rock band that sounds like no other -- imagine a pastoral choir overwhelming a sweeping folk-rock band, in the middle of a sunlit forest in the spring.

That's about the sound of the Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut album -- it's a stream of lush, jangly folk pop, edged with a touch of baroque and country-rock. While their "Sun Giant" EP was...
Published on June 4, 2008 by E. A Solinas

versus
79 of 115 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I dont know any better
So I was passing through one day and noticed the Sun Giant cover art by Fleet Foxes on Amazon. I was fixated by it. Yeh sure, dont judge an album by its cover art, but I looked at that spectacular view with the colossal architecture in the background and thought, I want to be there... If they can put me in that picture for just one track... Im bought. The opener does just...
Published on June 16, 2008 by Monsieur Valentine


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131 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hold me dear, into the night, June 4, 2008
This review is from: Fleet Foxes (Audio CD)
The Fleet Foxes are a rock band that sounds like no other -- imagine a pastoral choir overwhelming a sweeping folk-rock band, in the middle of a sunlit forest in the spring.

That's about the sound of the Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut album -- it's a stream of lush, jangly folk pop, edged with a touch of baroque and country-rock. While their "Sun Giant" EP was an excellent introduction, it's nothing compared to the rough-edged grandeur of the full-length album, with its glorious instrumentation and vivid lyricism.

The only really offputting part of the album is the opening five seconds, when an off-key chorale sings, "Reeeeed squirrel in the morning/Reeeeeeeed squirrel in the evening..."

Then the song suddenly melts into a gentle acoustic guitar shimmering with keyboard. "The sun rises, over my head/Hold me dear, into the night/Sun it will rise soon in the morn..." Robin Pecknold sings with all the solemnity of a choirboy. His voice soars over the steelier riffs and thumping drums, only to settle down with, "The sun rising, dangling there/Golden and fair, in the sky..."

Wow. When an intro is that lovely, just imagine what the songs that follow are going to be like.

In this case, it's the shifting folky "White Winter Hymnal," with its kettle drums and beautiful campfire harmonies ("I was following... I was following... I was following the pack/all swallowed in their coats/with scarves of red tied 'round their throats"), followed by the endearingly energetic rocker "Ragged Wood" ("You should come back home/back on your own now!").

It gets no less endearing after that: Gentle bluesy ballads, jangly folk-pop with lots of squiggly mellotron, sweeping pop chorales, bouncy countryish rockers with lots of intertwined guitars. Things get quieter near the end -- "Fleet Foxes" ends with a trio of lower-key, folkier ballads, sometimes with nothing more than Pecknold's voice and a guitar.

There's something very warm and welcoming about the Fleet Foxes' music, and there's hardly a song on their self-titled album that doesn't contain that sunniness. And though the bittersweet songs focus on the usual topics -- family, love, lost friends -- there's a strong feeling of pastoral beauty, especially since they're sprinkled with meadowlarks, wood-women, "quivering forests," Tennessee and grassy graves.

In fact, the lyrics are crammed with vivid ("And, Michael, you would fall/and turn the white snow red as strawberries") and striking language ("I hold a cornucopia and a golden crown"). At times, the band's lyrics are pure poetry ("Wanderers this morning came by/Where did they go?/Graceful in the morning light/To banner fair/To follow you softly/In the cold mountain air...").

These songs are wrapped in lush melodies of striking music, which happily swirl together folk, classic earthy rock, pop, baroque and a bit of country. And an coustic guitar is the lead instrument here; sometimes it's all by itself, and sometimes it's intertwined with a smooth mix of other instruments -- hollow drums, rippling mellotron, steely guitar, and a hint of harp being plucked somewhere.

And finally there's Robin Pecknold. He sounds a little off-key in the spare ballads, but in the more complex songs he sounds sweet, strong and truly beautiful, especially when he does that soaring thing. And I have to say, I'm a sucker for the band's sunny chorale sound -- the harmonies really make those melodies sound exquisite.

The Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut is one of the best albums I've heard all year, with its blend of styles and bittersweetly lovely songs. Haunting and truly lovely.
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74 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Beach Boys of Winter, August 28, 2008
By 
AJay McLaughlin "Peace Creeps" (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fleet Foxes (Audio CD)
I heard something on WXPN that stirred me from my coffee and newspaper, but all I caught aside from the almost shape note singing was the name Fleet Foxes. Then someone I've been sharing musical knowledge with put in quite a few good words regarding this and Sun Giants. I eventually got around to picking this up at the local independant music store. I played it through a couple times and threw it on the pile. Then I started hearing it in the distance. A soft baroque chiming in the back of my head. Not the Zombies not Procol Harum nor Left Banke. Oddly rootsy. Sad like the last days of Summer. I ended giving it my full attention and played it over and over with special attention to Hymnal.
It was then I realized that they were the Beach Boys of Winter.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hold me dear, into the night, September 6, 2008
The Fleet Foxes are a rock band that sounds like no other -- imagine a pastoral choir overwhelming a sweeping folk-rock band, in the middle of a sunlit forest in the spring.

That's about the sound of the Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut album -- it's a stream of lush, jangly folk pop, edged with a touch of baroque and country-rock. While their "Sun Giant" EP serves as an excellent prologue (and is included as a bonus disc in the "Special Edition"), it's nothing compared to the rough-edged grandeur of the full-length album, with its glorious instrumentation and vivid lyricism. It's a stunning little composition.

The only really offputting part of the album is the opening five seconds, when an off-key chorale sings, "Reeeeed squirrel in the morning/Reeeeeeeed squirrel in the evening..."

Then the song suddenly melts into a gentle acoustic guitar shimmering with keyboard. "The sun rises, over my head/Hold me dear, into the night/Sun it will rise soon in the morn..." Robin Pecknold sings with all the solemnity of a choirboy. His voice soars over the steelier riffs and thumping drums, only to settle down with, "The sun rising, dangling there/Golden and fair, in the sky..."

Wow. When an intro is that lovely, just imagine what the songs that follow are going to be like.

In this case, it's the shifting folky "White Winter Hymnal," with its kettle drums and beautiful campfire harmonies ("I was following... I was following... I was following the pack/all swallowed in their coats/with scarves of red tied 'round their throats"), followed by the endearingly energetic rocker "Ragged Wood" ("You should come back home/back on your own now!").

It gets no less endearing after that: Gentle bluesy ballads, jangly folk-pop with lots of squiggly mellotron, sweeping pop chorales, bouncy countryish rockers with lots of intertwined guitars. Things get quieter near the end -- the Fleet Foxes end the album with a trio of lower-key, folkier ballads, sometimes with nothing more than Pecknold's voice and a guitar.

And the Special Edition includes what every Fleet Foxes fan should have -- their debut album "Sun Giant." It opens witha solemn harmony of choir-like vocals accompanied only by a plucked mandolin. "What a life I lead when the sun breaks free/as a giant torn from the clouds/what a life indeed when that ancient seed/is a berry watered and plowed," the Fleet Foxes intone, sounding very innocent and awestruck.

Then the tone shifts with the eerie, sort-of--medieval "Drops in the River," the catchy folkpop "English House" with its woobly synth and countryish riffs (think a folksier Grizzly Bear). The rock sound becomes a bit more organic after that, with the smooth, tight pop melody of "Mykonos," but it's still punctuated with jangly guitars and soaring harmonies. And "Innocent Son" rounds the EP off with a subtle, wistful little folk melody that laments, "some twisted thorn tells me you saw me in the night with another..."

There's something very warm and welcoming about the Fleet Foxes' music -- a blend of jangly rock, folk and electronica -- and there's hardly a song on their self-titled album that doesn't contain that sunniness. And though the bittersweet songs focus on the usual topics -- family, love, lost friends -- there's a strong feeling of pastoral beauty, especially since they're sprinkled with meadowlarks, wood-women, "quivering forests," Tennessee and grassy graves.

In fact, the lyrics are crammed with vivid ("And, Michael, you would fall/and turn the white snow red as strawberries") and striking language ("I hold a cornucopia and a golden crown"). At times, the band's lyrics are pure poetry ("Wanderers this morning came by/Where did they go?/Graceful in the morning light/To banner fair/To follow you softly/In the cold mountain air..."), but tinged with sorrow ("Rust suddenly falling beside me on a ghost of a morning/riding in sorrow to the harbor/far behind me, the bodies of my friends...").

These songs are wrapped in lush melodies of striking music, which happily swirl together folk, classic earthy rock, pop, baroque and a bit of country. And an acoustic guitar is the lead instrument here; sometimes it's all by itself, and sometimes it's intertwined with a smooth mix of other instruments -- hollow drums, rippling mellotron, steely guitar, and a hint of harp being plucked somewhere.

And finally there's Robin Pecknold. He sounds a little off-key in the spare ballads, but in the more complex songs he sounds sweet, strong and truly beautiful, especially when he does that soaring thing. And I have to say, I'm a sucker for the band's sunny chorale sound -- the harmonies really make those melodies sound exquisite, and gives them a more transcendent sound than most folk-rock bands.

The Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut is one of the best albums I've heard all year, with its blend of styles and bittersweetly lovely songs. Haunting and truly lovely.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A full five from a Fleet Foxes fan, May 8, 2009
By 
Dereck Burke (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fleet Foxes (Audio CD)
I picked up this CD on a whim when seeing it in the "Customers Also Bought These Items" when looking at a Decemberists CD. At first, the CD did not speak to me, with the exception of White Winter Hymnal, and the songs generally sounded the same. After about 3 listens through however, I had achieved a greater appreciation for the melodies that had been sewn into this LP, and some of them stuck in my head for days (especially Ragged Wood). The vocals are outstanding, reminding me at times of the band America, but Fleet Foxes are also able to invoke elaborate mental images of train whistles and wind with their harmonization. Many of the songs are written in a progressive style, and at times you may think you are on a different track number than you actually are, but Fleet Foxes don't miss a beat in delivering an altogether solid album from start to finish.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars musical benevolence, August 20, 2008
This review is from: Fleet Foxes (Audio CD)
Eccentric and familiar at the same time; the self titled full length from Seattle's Fleet Foxes is nothing short of spellbinding. Borrowing heavily from olden-folk and country-rock, the album packs a futuristic vintage punch, although it's much more like a subtle kiss on the cheek. Peckhold's voice is always in reverberating reverence to the past, and the band's playing constitutes the very same greatness. The music is full of a mystically optimistic spirit; graceful and invigorating, all finespun into a genius work of art unlike anything else. Easily one of the most original and beautiful albums to come along on a long time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacularly delicate, 5 stars., February 5, 2009
By 
David King (Silver Spring, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fleet Foxes (Audio CD)
2014 update: In the wake of the folk-pop-group revival (both album and single/one-hit wonder-oriented artists), this album can be said to be very influential, and though it topped most magazine/blog end-of year lists when it came out, the Fleets still seem almost criminally underrated. They seem shy toward media, big appearances and music videos, and they don't go out of their way to produce a song with the aspects today's radio would see as a huge single. The Fleet Foxes' follow-up "Helplessness Blues" corroborated my 5-star review, live show is spot-on as well. Pecknold (Fleet's lead singer/songwriter) has said that this album wasn't as direct and coherent in its lyricism as the follow-up, and the mix was less crisp/detailed, but I think that's part of the poetry.

Original review:
Saw these guys on SNL, and after the horrible musical guests SNL's had, they seemed like they were from another planet. Their harmonies are choir-like, though their melodies have a strength and ornamented contour of their own. "Fleet Foxes" has the unity of a concept album, consistent in presenting different facets of an overall experience. Within this world they create, are moments of happiness, wonder, tragedy, mystery and more.

The thing is, they don't let anything obvious pervade - the work excels in its ambiguity, its shading and transition. Aside from the more definate verses/lyrics, there are instrumentals, interludes (both instrumental and vocal) that begin to seem like events themselves, usually melancholy and mysterious, sometimes suspenseful, ALWAYS well timed. Speaking as a composer, their music is suprisingly patient and thought out - the drama of it is understated but archs effectively: ("Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" builds to an emotional confession, then tinges it with a fading minor reprise).

Musically, they do have alot of reverb, but it works, in fact it's essential to the ambiguity they create, and the choir-like beauty. It still seems intimate to me, and the instruments and lead vocal remain defined.

Lyrically, rural imagery follows the music's lead (or vice versa?), and lyrics frequently hint at something that has happened or is about to happen - but the Fleets leave it at that - creating a haunted and universal effect.

Songs:
1. Sun It Rises: melancholy, majestic opener
2. White Winter Hymnal: upbeat, melody has a charming arc (Pet Sounds anyone?)
3. Ragged Wood: a multifaceted, 3 part "experience", finale wins out.
4. Tiger Mt. Peasant Song: pensive, renaissance beauty and another climactic finale.
5. Quiet Houses: a sunny instrumental w/ sparse 'hooks'. I'm a sucker for Maj7th chords.
6. He Doesn't Know Why: several verses of a soaring melody, bursting into an unrestrained hook, soon humanized by harmonies.
7. Heard Them Stirring: an instrumental more pensive than "Quiet..", rollercoaster of different shadings.
8. Your Protector: most aggressive song, effective in its firey drama
9. Meadowlark: intimate catharsis after "..Protector", remarkable senstivity.
10. Blue Ridge Mountains: impossibly beautiful, seems to be the realization of alot of musical foreshadowing earlier in the album. Finale wins again.
11. Oliver James: Simple, understated and seemingly optimistic end.

...I joined just to write this, still perplexed about how good it is. they take so many influences that are musically meaningful and create a world all their own.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cross-generational, November 23, 2008
By 
This review is from: Fleet Foxes (Audio CD)
I tried this album on a recommendation from Amazon based on other purchases and it is a winner. This band reminds me of a cross between
Crosby,Stills + Nash, The Grateful Dead and very early Genesis (which is not to say Fleet Foxes don't have an original sound - they do - I am just reminded of those other bands). An excellent album.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars... Outstanding debut album, August 1, 2008
This review is from: Fleet Foxes (Audio CD)
Fleet Foxes seemingly have come out of nowhere. In April, they released an interesting EP "Sun Giants" and a couple of months later they came out with their debut album that surpasses the EP by miles. If you are not familiar with the band's sound, the best way that I can summon it is early My Morning Jacket + Band of Horses = Fleet Foxes, as much as that is a generalization.

"Fleet Foxes" 11 tracks; 39 min.) starts off "Sun It Rises", and the opening sounds of that track (church-like a-cappella singing) actually are somewhat misleading to what will come. Comparisons to early My Morning Jacket are inevitable on tracks like "Ragged Wood" and "Quiet Houses", and that's a compliment. There are several tracks that feature just main songwriter Robin Pecknold's voice and acoustic guitar, just beautiful, such as on "Tiger Mountain Pleasant Song". The album is sequenced perfectly, and it flies by in no time. Other highlights include "He Doesn't Know Why" (reminiscent of Band of Horses), a lush "Your Protector", and the album closer "Oliver James", again just Pecknold and his guitar, just mesmerizing.

In all, this is clearly one of the best albums of the year for me so far. Haven't had a chance yet to see these guys live, but I sure hope I will soon. Finally, if you wonder where I found out about these guys, I heard them on the internet-only station WOXY ("Bam! The Future of Rock and Roll"), the best source for indie-rock in the country, bar none. Meanwhile, "Fleet Foxes" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, June 3, 2008
This review is from: Fleet Foxes (MP3 Music)
In brief:
Fleet Foxes sound a fair amount like My Morning Jacket and (less) Band of Horses, but make more beautiful/pastoral/folksy music than either MMJ or BoH.

Recommended tracks:
White Winter Hymnal
Quiet Houses
He Doesn't Know Why
Oliver James
(in order of track, not preference)

One of the better releases of '08 so far, strongly recommended.
Also get Fleet Foxes' Sun Giant EP for the sake of Mykonos, probably their most accessible single.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breughel, beards and beauty, January 8, 2009
This review is from: Fleet Foxes (Audio CD)
Fleet Foxes are the once and future kings of the currently thriving "bearded indie folk" music scene (along with the likes of Iron & Wine, Bon Iver and Sea Wolf), and there's a good reason for that. In addition to the heaps of accolades from indie music gatekeepers like Pitchfork (who picked this record and its prequel EP "Sun Giant" as the best of 2008),there's the music itself - at once timeless and thoroughly contemporary. Rare is the band that can deliver compositions which seem to have been dredged up from some lost archive of American musical history (the classic example being the debut record from The Band), but the songs on this record could as easily have come from 1800s Appalachia as from Seattle in the 2000's.

Shimmering, echoey harmonies combined with delicately eclectic instrumentation, and lyrical imagery that conjures up everything from Edward Gorey illustrations ("White Winter Hymnal" with its line about "following the pack all swallowed in their coats/ with scarves of red tied round their throats/ to keep their little heads/ from falling in the snow...") to sun-drenched California beaches. That's Fleet Foxes - easily one of the most accomplished and beautiful releases of the past year.
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Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes (Audio CD - 2008)
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