Fleet Foxes Crack-Up
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- Released: June 16, 2017
- Originally Released: 2017
- Label: Nonesuch
Rolling Stone"[T]hey've upped their prog ambitions -- tracks wash together, song titles abound with opaque punctuation, and the sweeping melodies often wander into moody places, away from the safety of the campfire."
Spin"[A] different sort of Fleet Foxes album, one that's stormy, ambitious, and reticent to indulge in the sunny, bearded Beach Boys escapism of the first two....CRACK-UP is an extraordinary step forward..."
Uncut"Time away had not dimmed Pecknold's ear for a ravishing harmony. It had, though, widened his scope and ambition..."
NME (Magazine)"[A] collection of impressionistic, multi-part songs that abound in literary and artistic references, draw on musical traditions from around the world..."
Paste (magazine) - "[A]t once sumptuous and ambitious, a serpentine journey from the center of harmony-drenched folk-pop out to the edge of Pecknold's brain and back. It is lovely, strange and generous, and ultimately a very welcome return for the Seattle band."
Pitchfork (Website) - "CRACK-UP contains his most compelling writing to date because it's so damn relatable in 2017 -- reacting and retreating inwards as people and institutions fail to meet the standards set in one's head."
Clash (Magazine) - "There's a new world weariness to Robin Pecknold's voice as it traces tails of separation, longing and self-doubt, often in a newfound baritone that heavily resembles the lived-in growl of Leonard Cohen."
- 1.I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar
- 3.Naiads, Cassadies
- 4.Kept Woman
- 5.Third of May / Odaigahara
- 6.If You Need to, Keep Time on Me
- 8.On Another Ocean (January / June)
- 9.Fools Errand
- 10.I Should See Memphis
Personnel: Zubin Hensler, Riley Mulherkar (trumpet); Willem De Koch, Andy Clausen (trombone); Robin Pecknold (horns, piano).
Audio Mixer: Phil Ek.
Recording information: Avast Recording, Seattle, WA (07/2016); Electric Lady Studios, NY (07/2016); Rare Book Room, Brooklyn, NY (07/2016); Sear Sound, NY (07/2016); The Unknown, Anacortes, WA (07/2016); The Void, Amenia, NY (07/2016); Avast Recording, Seattle, WA (09/2016); Electric Lady Studios, NY (09/2016); Rare Book Room, Brooklyn, NY (09/2016); Sear Sound, NY (09/2016); The Unknown, Anacortes, WA (09/2016); The Void, Amenia, NY (09/2016); Avast Recording, Seattle, WA (09/2016-01/2017); Electric Lady Studios, NY (09/2016-01/2017); Rare Book Room, Brooklyn, NY (09/2016-01/2017); Sear Sound, NY (09/2016-01/2017); The Unknown, Anacortes, WA (09/2016-01/2017); The Void, Amenia, NY (09/2016-01/2017); Avast Recording, Seattle, WA (10/2016); Electric Lady Studios, NY (10/2016); Rare Book Room, Brooklyn, NY (10/2016); Sear Sound, NY (10/2016); The Unknown, Anacortes, WA (10/2016); The Void, Amenia, NY (10/2016).
Following a lengthy hiatus and some apparent soul-searching from bandleader Robin Pecknold, Fleet Foxes aim for dramatic reinvention on their cerebral third LP, Crack-Up. When they debuted in 2008, they were widely designated as torchbearers of the burgeoning indie folk movement, but there was always an academic element to the Seattle band's work that vaulted them into a class of their own. Their exultant vocal harmonies rose like a misty hybrid of the Beach Boys and Steeleye Span and their complex chamber pop arrangements recalled the autumnal splendor of the Zombies paired with the melodic complexity of early Yes. On the band's long-awaited third effort, it's the latter of those two references that jumps to the fore as they deliver what is easily their most progressive album to date. Named for an essay by F. Scott Fitzgerald and bearing references to Spanish painter Francisco Goya, the American Civil War, sociopolitical anxiety, and inner-band strife, Crack-Up is dense and difficult, but ultimately rewarding. At the album's vanguard is "I Am All That I Need/Arroyo Seco/Thumbprint Scar," an ambitious three-part suite in which the familiar strains of Fleet Foxes' trademark wall of harmonies become suddenly hijacked by crudely mumbled interludes and various forms of rhythmic and tonal dissonance. It's a method employed throughout Crack-Up's 11 tracks, which seem to zig and zag through zones of chaos, fellowship, and transcendence as Pecknold the scholar unveils his strange architecture in layers of detail and nuance. That the nearly nine-minute centerpiece, "Third of May/Odaigahara," was chosen as the album's lead single says something about the availability of easily digestible material on Crack-Up, and yet its aspirations are the glue that holds it all together. Orchestral, experimental, and more challenging than either of the band's previous releases, it's a natural fit for the Nonesuch label, whose heritage was built on such attributes. For Fleet Foxes, it represents a shift away from their more idyllic early days into a period of artistic growth and sophistication. ~ Timothy Monger
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