Another Sub-Pop venture, Fleet Foxes were introduced to me by the guys at the local record shop – Criminal Records – back in late ’08 before my family and I moved from the Hipstertopian Hive of Poncey-Highlands to the more kid friendly climes of suburbia. Criminal was an easy walk from our ültraslikk loft in Atlanta’s snazzy Telephone Factory (we miss you guys!), and so it was easy, if not expensive, to constantly whet my appetite for vinyl. Some were hits, others were misses, others were merely meh.
Fleet Foxes eponymous freshman effort was far from meh. IMHO it’s a GottaGettrecord if you’re into this kind of music. What kind of music? Hmmm …
Imagine the Beach Boys as Pacific Northwest Grunge-Hippie Vegan Off-Gridders with an appreciation for big, echoey soundstages and lots of acoustic sounds. More folk than rock, good story-telling lyrics drive melodic compositions that have an almost passive-aggressive magnetism. They don’t provoke so much as evoke, which is probably a sign of good songwriting – though I’m not anyone’s expert critic.
What I can tell you is that I was surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed this record given that I’m not normally one to lay down cash for folk. Sure – some folk records have made it in to my collection because I’ve bought up small, whole collections here and there. But for me to intentionally trade real money for folk is a hurdle, one that Fleet Foxes’ record easily surmounted.
As I tend to appreciate distinction in voices, I’ll hand it to Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold as vocalist for the lion’s share of influence on my decision. No cookie-cutter vocalist by any measure, he deftly draws emotion without loss of control, never lapses into heady sophistry thinly disguised as humor (you hear me, Bob Dylan?), and tells compelling stories that are easy to find sympathetic resonance with.
The Sub-Pop vinyl record includes a second LP, which is their “Sun Giant” EP – and this is the only way to get Sun Giant on vinyl as far as I know. How much? $14.