Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up
Six years after the release of their Sophomore album, Helplessness Blues, Seattle’s Fleet Foxes have finally returned with a fresh and exploratory new record: Crack-Up.
While Crack-Up satiates fans with Foxes’ signature lush tones, there are surprises waiting for listeners within the work. Our introduction is a song in three acts: ‘I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar’. The song has a surprisingly progressive sound and playfully winds in and out of perceived consciousness; a late Summer fever dream of Love lost.
Almost every song blends into the next with gorgeous outros/intros, the more memorable being the transition from ‘-Naiads, Cassadies’ into ‘Kept Woman’ (a foreboding waltz), and the outro of ‘Fool’s Errand’; a still and intimate moment amid muddy instrumentation. One song that particularly juxtaposes themes is ‘Third of May / Odaigahara’; part artful anthem, part introspective slow-down that beautifully handles moments of musical conflict, paired with moments of sweetness and simplicity.
‘I Should See Memphis’, however, is the most lyrically compelling track on the album. Though the instrumentation is lax, each lyric seems to contradict the last, showing the real-time unfolding realization that someone is not quite who you thought they were. It also tells the story of a grand elopement from pressure and circumstance and the desire for a romanticized adventure on the road – all the while, the problem remaining exactly where it was dropped.
Overall, the record has the sort of things you would come to expect from a Fleet Foxes album: atmospheric instrumentals, golden harmonies that call back to the late sixties work of the Beach Boys and the Zombies, but with a new progressive twist that enhances the band’s storytelling capabilities. Crack-Up is questioning and introspective, and somehow captures the warm melancholy of the end of Summer.