Music Review of Fleet Foxes’ Self-Titled Debut Album

“Fleet Foxes” are a five-piece Seattle based indie band. Their genres include indie folk, folk rock, baroque pop, indie rock and indie pop. Fleet Foxes consist of Robin Pecknold (Vocal and Guitar), Skye Skjelset (Lead Guitar), Jay Tillman (Drums), Casey Wescott (Keyboard and Bass) and Christian Wargo (Bass and Keyboard). According to The Independent, Fleet Foxes described their music as “Baroque harmonic pop jams”. Before the release of their self-titled album, Fleet Foxes have released two EPs, “Fleet Foxes EP” in 2006 and “Sun Giant” in February 2008, and both EPs received positive reviews and praise.

Fleet Foxes somehow remind me of Okkervil River. I don’t know why. The whole journey of Fleet Foxes is like having fun and singing in a church. It has those that make you sing in church, with hands holding hands. And those which make you nod your head along too. Nice to have when in church, harmony will come when you have Fleet Foxes with you.

Fleet Foxes will keep your heart at peace with “Sun It Rises”. With some steady guitar and drum playing. It wouldn’t need long before you find yourself liking this song. From the lyrics where Robin went “Red squirrel in the morning, red squirrel in the evening, red squirrel in the morning, i’m comin’ to take you home, the sun rises over my head, in the morning, with the hold me, dear, into the night, sun, it will rise, soon enough…” I don’t really know what it meants, but one thing’s for sure. You’ll feel comfortable with this song. Simple lyrics, but with deep meaning.

“White Winter Hymnal” is really good I have to say. From start to finish, it has got me going. It’s like when you have an ice-cream, you would end up asking for more. This was what happened to me when I listened to this song. I got to say, White Winter Hymnal is really awesome! Robin made this song sounds so easy, but so good! I can feel Fleet Foxes’ harmony in this song. The vocal and the music were just too great to handle. Especially the “woo hoo hoo woo hoo hoo”. Unbelievable!

“Ragged Wood” comes in as the third track off the album. It is the longest song on the album and one of the crunchiest on the album. Somewhat again, reminding of Okkervil River. While Robin sings, you can hear the rest of the Fleet Foxes joined in and had their fun as well. They provide beautiful and harmonized back-up vocals, which nowadays, is one of the secret ingredients of any successful indie bands and artists. With some amazing guitar pluckings at the end, you can’t miss this song.

Fleet Foxes continues with “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”, which is a beautiful ballad and showcased Robin’s vocal. Robin sang, “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”. I can’t tell what it means from the lyrics but I can feel the sadness in this song. Fleet Foxes sure do know how to take care of your emotions.

“Quiet Houses” had a very good music playing to it. I was amazed the moment the music started, steady drum beats and beautiful acoustic guitar accompanied by what sounded like a door-pounding sound. It’s just so simple, but this song is really good. Check out the music! Oh ya, I think Fleet Foxes are singing about ahem… The lyrics goes like this, “Lay me down, lay me down… Don’t give in, don’t give in… Oooh… Come to me…” Happy and cheerful track with some really catchy hooks!

“He Doesn’t Know Why” started with Fleet Foxes beautiful and harmonized moans. This song has a few pick up points. Whenever Robin finished singing a verse, he had to catch his breath and build up his lungs and sing a new verse again. It’s such a hard song to sing if you were to try. Robin tried to make it as effortless as possible. At the end where Robin went, “There’s nothing I can do, there’s nothing I can say…”, it was the climax of this song and it was followed by a 30 seconds beautiful piano playing.

In “Heard Them Stirring”, you can hear Robin’s moans at the beginning, and slowly the rest of Fleet Foxes joined in, creating a beautiful platform for harmonized hummings and moans. They went, “woo hooo hoo..” And more! As if a group of choir were singing with Fleet Foxes. A beautiful one by Fleet Foxes. They were the music in Heard Them Stirring.

Wow, “Your Protector” is like some heroic anthem for a warrior. Interesting track by Fleet Foxes. There were some flute playing in this track, bringing a new instrument to Fleet Foxes’s music. 🙂 The chorus was somewhat good and strong, I can feel it when Robin yell, “As you lay to die beside me baby, I’m the one in the shootin’ game, would you wait for me, the other one, would you wait for me…” With Your Protector, I can see that Robin is trying to tell us a story, I might not understand it. But with the music and the endless harmonized moans and hums, I can’t ask for more.

“Meadowlarks” is another beautiful acoustic ballad about meadowlark. If I were right, I think Robin is singing about his pet, a meadowlark. I just love the way Fleet Foxes hum to this song. It was just way too beautiful!

“Blue Ridge Mountains” started off really slow, but still managed to finish on a high note. There was a very unique instrument in this track, it sounded like some Chinese or Japanese instrument, which made Blue Ridge Mountains so good to the ears. Piano can also be heard in the background as Robin sang on. “In the quivering forest, where the shivering dog rests, our good grandfather, built a wooden nest, and the river got frozen, and the home got snowed in, and the yellow moon glowed bright, till the morning light” Brilliant stuff here.

The last track on Fleet Foxes’ debut is a beautiful acoustic track called “Oliver James”. At times when I listened to this song, I just wanted to sing along. The fact that this song is very easy to sing along to, it such a mesmerizing track. Only Robin’s voice and some guitars can be heard. Even if the guitar is not present, I have no doubts that this will be a big track as well. Just lovely. A peaceful way to end the album.

Rating: Wow, every song on Fleet Foxes’ debut has its own uniqueness and specialty. I enjoyed this album thoroughly. The instrumentals on Fleet Foxes were pure genius, I can’t help but listening to them all the time with my ipod. Fleet Foxes also tried to add some varieties to their music through using different types of instruments, which to me, they really did a fine great job. Nothing to argue about, there might be some flaws in between the album or some short boring moments on Fleet Foxes, but it’s still worth to spend your time with Fleet Foxes. 7.5 out of 10, I have to say. Cheers!

Stand-Out Tracks (My Picks): White Winter Hymnal, Ragged Wood, Quiet Houses, Meadowlarks, Blue Ridge Mountains.