Album Club: Fleet Foxes- Fleet Foxes

Written by Music

Music is something that we all love to listen to, talk about and write about. However, very rarely do we get the opportunity to hear several perspectives on the same album- outside of those dark corners of reddit where music nerds like like to hang out. So, we at The Courier have started “album club”, a book club of sorts but for albums, where we recommend an album for our writers to listen to and then compile their thoughts into an article. For the inaugural week, we got our writers to listen to Fleet Foxes self-titled debut, which is widely regarded as one of the best indie-folk records of all time. Here are their thoughts.

Fleet Foxes’ debut album, the creatively named Fleet Foxes (2008) is an indie folk hallmark. If there’s any one word that properly captures this album, its “beautiful”. The fairy-tale folk lyricism and the pleasant vocal harmonies lend the album an ethereal, almost holy sounding sound that is remarkably soft listening. Also very noticeable is the use of silence and echo in the album, which is a lovely, seldom used technique that I can really appreciate as an Arthur Russell fan. It’s what I imagine indie music from the middle ages would sound like, although I’m not sure how much of that is the sound and how much is the nature imagery present throughout the album. I can almost imagine a bard playing the songs in a little tavern somewhere.

My favorite tracks were the sombre-sounding ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’, the slightly more upbeat ‘Blue Ridge Mountains’, which gives me chills, and of course, ‘White Winter Hymnal’. It’s a great album with amazing instrumental work and is definitely worth a listen for any indie folk fan. I’d give Fleet Foxes a strong eight out of ten.

Muslim Taseer

Fleet foxes were completely new for me as it was the first time listening to them, their album and even the indie-folk genre. Since it was a totally new discovery, I didn’t know what to expect and was kind of scared I wouldn’t like it but I was wrong, this album is quite good.

I would say that it was a good surprise. The album is very nice. What I enjoyed the most was the slow tempo and chill rhythm found on most of the songs. It is very relaxing to listen to.

Nonetheless I don’t think I’d like to listen to that album all day especially because of the lyrics and melodies which remind me of religious songs which I don’t really enjoy. Also, the lack of lyrics doesn’t help the case.

Overall, I am left with mixed feeling about this album even though I liked it. Really enjoyable on most parts and I am glad I listened to it as it was a great discovery but it also was quite disappointing on few other points.

Gauthier Meley

Fleet Foxes self-titled debut is a homage to the age-old genre of folk. Ethereal strings lend themselves to sombre tracks with often Gregorian undertones, whilst soothing vocal harmonies effortlessly fuse together over the gentle rhythm of a distant tambourine.

For a debut, this record is outstanding. It fully cemented Fleet Foxes as one of the greatest folk bands of the modern age. The now instantly recognisable vocals of front-man Robin Pecknold accompanied by the delicate finger picking of Morgan Henderson and the woody euphonies of Skyler Skjelset’s superlunary mandolin harbour a wintry chill. This combination of folk old and new produces an unusually lonely sense of togetherness. The brotherhood is there, but it feels distant, culminating in a truly beautiful yet slightly foreboding body of music.

For me, the standout tracks are ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’, ‘Oliver James’ and ‘Ragged Wood’.

Joe Smith

I truly haven’t heard an album as unique as this one in a long time. With an ethereal twist of Hozier and Bon Iver style tones, Fleet Foxes, an American Indie band, managed to create their own unique style.

Released in 2008, this debut epic managed to clinch Platinum status in the UK, with such tracks as ‘Ragged Wood’ providing a much needed dose of Indie-Folk.

It’s an incredibly easy listen, with light guitar chords and percussive efforts working in tandem to provide the listener with a spiritual awakening. It’s much more than music, it’s transformative. I felt like I was travelling down an American highway in the mountains, as opposed to lying on my bed in ‘sunny’ Doncaster.

‘White Winter Hymnal’, one of the more popular efforts on the album, provides a multi-layered vocal arrangement similar to that of The Housemartins, contributing to their mystical sound. It almost sounds middle-earthy, like the kind of track you’d expect on a hipster Game Of Thrones.

While many artists are celebrated as being ‘ahead of their time’, Fleet Foxes created a modern twist of old, American blues. This album was both a remodel of the past, but a look into what the future had in store for Indie music.

Tom Moorcroft

Last modified: 22nd August 2020

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