Fleet Foxes’ Summertime Soundtrack

July 26, 2017 · Print This Article

I brought my own assumptions before discovering the Fleet Foxes gorgeous folk-rock comeback album. Lots of college students dream about dropping-out for rock ‘n’ roll, but this band’s frontman dreamed about college and dropped-out of rock n roll to pursue it. That idea alone helped undo my preconceptions.


I knew that they get played in Starbucks and Urban Outfitters, and I once dated a guy who wouldn’t shut up about them (that relationship ended sooner than this album’s time stamp). Forgive me, but I first thought they’d be pretentious and boring, the very kind of music a guy you meet on Tinder would listen to. I’ve been wrong before, though, and I was wrong about this band.

The Seattle-based group’s latest album Crack-Up exceeded my expectations. To compare it to musicians I’m more familiar with, it’s a mix both thematically and sound-wise of Tom Waits, the Lumineers, and Bob Dylan. Here’s a brief rundown of some highlights for this listener new to the Foxes’ fold.

By the first few seconds of track one (which I refer to more briefly as “I Am All That I Need,” easier than the impossibly long actual title), I found myself staring at the ceiling and listening intently. It’s a surreal sound, soothing but jarring at the same time. The whisper/shout/whisper style of it reminded me a lot of early Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. It fades almost seamlessly into track two, a song called “Cassius,-” (weird punctuation courtesy of Fleet Foxes). It’s a gentle lullaby-esque sound that doesn’t match its disconcerting lyrics, but that’s a win in my book.

The album’s strongest and most beautiful song “Kept Woman” hearkens back to Led Zeppelin’s “going to California.” It’s soft, slow, and mournful, perfect for long stretches of highway on the way home from the lake, or the ocean beach, but I do live in Tennessee, after all.

I don’t usually like being proven wrong in my gut assumptions, especially not when it comes to music. But when it comes to this album, I’m willing to swallow my pride. I’ve never really had the desire to live on a 1970s commune, but I imagine Fleet Foxes would make the perfect soundtrack for a movie about one. Their music is summertime, coming-of-age and road-trip-worthy, and that’s just what the music world needs now. -Hannah Barger


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