Instead of writing a formal review or developing a rating system, I’ve decided to write my thoughts about albums in streams-of-consciousness. Here’s the first go-around.
Artist: Fleet Foxes
Album: Fleet Foxes
Label: Sub Pop
Release date: 3 June 2008
Genre: baroque harmonic pop jam
Lyrical themes: wood nymphs, forestry, antique furniture, brotherhood
I keep finding myself coming back to this album. I enjoy weighty lyrics that I can’t actually relate to, and this album has that quality. He sings with bravado about ornithology and cornucopias. It’s off-the-wall enough for me not to worry about understanding every underpinning (my usual struggle) but not so out-there that I would call the entire album a wash in its absurdity. The words all sound good together, almost ethereal, but I feel no pressure to decipher the metaphor and glean a lesson.
Even though I genuinely enjoy the singer’s voice, sometimes his vowels are nearly unbearable. “In” is not a two-syllable word. And, to be frank, I find the vocal harmony insufferable. The harmony never fails to parallel the melody either a third above or a fourth below. I’m a firm believer in autonomously interesting harmony lines, but if it must be dependent on the melody, at least let it be a sixth below. The harmony on this album is not only boring and predictable, rivaling even people who try to harmonize to contemporary worship music, but it’s also pervasive and inescapable. However, even with all my criticism of the singing, I do appreciate that the band considered the voice another instrument to work with; this recent trend in indie music is refreshing.