The fact that Robin Pecknold’s lead vocals on the new Fleet Foxes debut record sound so disarmingly similar to both Jim James and Ben Bridwell didn’t go over well with me at first. Musically speaking, Fleet Foxes isn’t particularly close to either band - there are plenty of much more effective comparisons to be made on that front. But damn if those reverbed-soaked vocals aren’t straight up “At Dawn” or “Detlaf Schrempf”.
So I had a hard time getting into this band when songs from their Sun Giant EP started going around earlier this year. But the past 2 weeks have seen just about every noteworthy critical hot-spot and reputable blogger cream their virtual shorts over the self-titled debut, so another listen was in order. And yes, the hoopla is deserved, vocal cloning be damned. Fleet Foxes is not only a remarkable debut, it easily bests the latest from their two "go-to" comparisons. Evil Urges has nothing on this record, and it tops Cease To Begin as well. I’m not going to be so bold as to say that it’s better than the best albums of those 2 bands, but I’m not not going to say it either. Fleet Foxes is that good, and is quickly becoming one of my favorites of 2008.
Sub Pop has just gone and done a real nice thing for anyone out there who still needs convincing. Apparently when the digital version of “He Doesn’t Know Why” hit iTunes, it had some flaws. To make things right the label has decided to make the song available, along with the previously released “White Winter Hymnal”, as a free download. Score. The song absolutely glistens - its soaring vocals are matched by an even sunnier musical arrangement. Pure summertime bliss. The thing is, for such a great song, it doesn’t even stand out on the album. There are plenty more where this came from (including “Your Protector“, which sounds like Band of Horses, oops, covering Wilco’s “On And On And On”, only better). Check out one of the year's most exciting young bands.
MP3 :: He Doesn’t Know Why
MP3 :: White Winter Hymnal
(from Fleet Foxes. Buy here)