Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up

by Nathan Fidler Rating:7 Release Date:2017-06-16

Sometimes it’s all about timing. Just as you (probably) wouldn’t play blaring hip-hop or grime at your grandma’s funeral, equally you wouldn’t break out the prog-folk for the dance floor at an office party. For Fleet Foxes, it has been six years since Helplessness Blues, with the long break only stoking the fires of pressure for their next album to live up to what they’ve already accomplished.

Crack-Up, has several songs staying beyond the six minute mark, something which should easily relay the type of album this is. While they’ve always had a streak of prog to their hymnal folk, it now plays an ever larger role (Helplessness Blues played down this element somewhat).

It’s not as easy a listen as their first two efforts on Sub-Pop, with their debut really catapulting their sound into the realms of popularity. There are still the hymnal harmonies, most noticeable on ‘Fool’s Errand’, but where the driving, sweetness of their folk drives ‘Third of May/Ōdaigahara’ it is countered with a stretched, far-reaching cacophony of feverish folk - eventually breaking into a quiet confessional.

Lyrically, you’ll be hard pressed to nail Robin Pecknold down to anything. ‘Mearcstapa’ has a title in reference to the middle ages and monsters, but where any of the stories in the song goes matters little. Each song is a hypnotic journey in both sound and the imagery which the lyrics conjure.

Again, it all comes down to timing. The pretentiousness is too much to share with others, you can’t just lump these songs at someone like you would a cat video on Youtube. The best way to describe the listening experience is to be sat on a train, whizzing through gently rolling hills, past lazy coastlines and the waves of greenery which passes by the window. You’ll recognise very little on journey, but it will be a pleasant, calming one.

Fleet Foxes could have very easily knocked out some cornball tracks and called it an album, so while it has taken bloody ages, it’s nice that they’ve produced something which has clearly had a lot of thought put into it, both in terms of composition as well as content.

‘If You Need To, Keep Time On Me’ features the most relatable lyrics in the opening, something extremely apt for the current economic and political climate: “How could it all fall in one day? Were we too sure of the sun?”

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