Last week, Fleet Foxes released their first album in six years, Crack-Up. I really liked it, as I wrote in my review:
Musically, Crack-Up is as convoluted in places as a Mars Volta record, showcasing multi-part suites with unpronounceable names like the jaw-dropping “Third Of May/Odiagahara,” in which a positively beaming, classic-sounding Fleet Foxes chorus slowly devolves into a vaguely dissonant psych-folk soundscape. The brassy brightness of the band’s harmonies, and the choirboy sweetness of Pecknold’s tenor, are parceled out a little less generously this time around. Pecknold either exhibits restraint, like on the affecting baroque ballad “Kept Woman,” or takes his time working himself up out of an early-morning croak, like on the otherwordly “I Am All That I Need/Arroyo Seco/Thumbprint Scar.”
While Fleet Foxes and Helplessness Blues are, for good or ill, utterly guileless albums that do little to conceal what one might find appealing about them, Crack-Up appears to have been conceived as a “grower” record that will reveal more of itself over time. So is it wrong that what I like most about Crack-Up is how pretty and shiny its surface is? Once again, a new Fleet Foxes LP seems well-timed, given how hard “pretty” is to come by these days. It feels like a necessary respite.
Fleet Foxes is hardly the only band associated with ’00s indie-rock to make a long-awaited comeback in 2017. Earlier this year there were new albums from Dirty Projectors, Spoon, and Phoenix, and later this summer there were will be new LPs from Arcade Fire, The National, LCD Soundsystem, Grizzly Bear, and The War On Drugs.
What should we expect from these records? And why are all of these bands coming back at around the same time. I called up my friend, colleague and big-time Fleet Foxes stan Caitlin White to figure it out. We chat about Fleet Foxes, discuss the so-called “Bon Iver Conundrum,” and pick which bands we’re most excited to see have a resurgence.