It is not hard to remember the days of a family road trip as a child. Sitting in the back seat of a green station wagon, packed with kids, distractions and a constant hum from the AM radio. The songs were the soundtrack of the road, and the faded yellow dividing lines were as wide and as many as the genres and styles that peppered the spectrum on those days. It was strange and not quite complete, but it felt like home. This is how the self-titled debut LP from Seattle's Fleet Foxes sounds.
Right on the heels of their debut EP Sun Giant, Fleet Foxes has become one of the best and most interesting groups to emerge in sometime. And with the release of the LP, there is plenty of material for the legions of new fans they are sure to make.
It would be easy to say on first listen that they sound like a hippy psychedelic band, and while that is partially true, it's a disservice to the listener. What makes Fleet Foxes special is not their nod to a bygone era, but their gift of crafting lush sounds, epic harmonies and clever hooks. This is a group that seems to have what many lack these days: an amazing chemistry and the ability to compose songs that are as catchy as they are challenging. For example, the track "White Winter Hymnal," relies on an elliptical vocal harmony, crisp rhythmic strings and a distant beat that moves the simple folk melody to refreshing places. Like the AM radio in my memories of the 1970s, Fleet Foxes represent the best from all types of genre spheres and deliver an album that is as exciting as being in a new place, while also being as reliable and familiar as the open road.
Good news for us, we won't have to travel too far to see them live this summer. Fleet Foxes opens for Wilco on August 20 at the Eagle Knoll Winery.