Fleet Foxes are a special kind of band. Since their inception back in 2008, they have continually managed to remain relevant and dazzle a wide audience while also keeping to their original sound. Following five years away from the spotlight curated by the seminal Helplessness Blues back in 2011, Robin Pecknold and co return with third album Crack-Up.
The medley known as “I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar” kicks Crack-Up off with all of the grandeur and open air that gives Fleet Foxes their vast sound, but fills it with a set of instrumentals that appear noticeably colder than heard previously. The riffs appear a little more mechanical, the harmonies have a chill to them, and the constant tempo shake ups produces quite the polarising reaction. Fortunately “…Thumbprint Scar” rounds off with a sturdier performance, but brings an end to what could be a change nce in atmosphere for Fleet Foxes.
“Cassius, -“ follows with a storming set of drums and vocals determined to blast through the airwaves like waves crashing against boulders, further cementing that there will be no talk to stroking Border Collies’ heads. There is varying levels of layers to the track though, combining all sorts of guitars and harmonies together to create a frantic but entertaining listen, before succumbing to the chilled vibes of “ – Naiads, Cassadies”.
‘Third of May / Ódaigahara’ brings cause for celebration as Fleet Foxes gather round to produce a little campfire of sound. The track’s warm guitars and swooning strings harkens back to memories of Helplessness Blues while in keeping with the frostier vibes of Crack-Up, as shown in the sudden silence of instruments and the sole vocals of Robin Pecknold that appear throughout it.
Crack-Up is a record that illustrates Fleet Foxes return to music. It’s kind of like returning to an abandoned home after many years – sure it has all of the same furniture, but there’s a noticeable lack of warmth to it. This record details the band using the same techniques and equipment to produce beautiful and, at times, stunning music and showcases the increasing return of their warmth and love too. It’s an astounding record that warrants some extra care and attention, but once the warmth returns you can feel yourself being back at home again.