With frequent comparisons to Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, and Crosby, Stills & Nash, the press seemed pretty enamored with Fleet Foxes when the band broke out with their debut album in 2008. By the end of that year, the band’s folk sentimentality and multilayered harmonies earned them places in dozens of “best of the year” lists, often taking the number one spot. In his album review for The Guardian, Dave Simpson called the first Fleet Foxes album “a landmark in American music — an instant classic.”
Nine years and a few line-up changes later and Fleet Foxes is back with their third full length record Crack-Up.
The harmonies are still there but the laid back, dreamy calmness of early Fleet Foxes is gone. Crack-Up is a bit more turbulent and soul searching, just like the F. Scott Fitzgerald essays from which Crack-Up borrows its title. “Who stole your life from you? Who turned you so against you?” frontman Robin Pecknold sings on the track Naiads, Cassadies.
Fitzgerald wrote his Crack-Up essays during a time of turmoil, amid alcoholism and mental institutions. While Crack-Up the album has plenty of equally chaotic elements, it (unlike Fitzgerald) ultimately builds to a positive ending. As Pecknold told Pitchfork, “I feel like Crack-Up begins in pure conflicted solitude and ends in a bright clearing, one of closeness.”
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