Updated: Oct 7, 2020
A first look at Fleet Foxes new Indie-Folk album Shore, the best tracks and a focus on the addictive third track 'Can I Believe You'.
Seattle's Fleet Foxes surprised everyone on Monday (21st September) when they announced fourth album Shore was to be released at exactly 2.31 pm on 22 September, the date and time marking the start of autumn. This was clearly planned for some time and the end result is a 55-minute record screaming autumn Indie-Folk vibes from the off.
A first look at Shore
The album opens with a soothing acoustic guitar sound and sweet laid-back vocals of guest singer Uwade Akhere ("Summer all over/ Blame it on timing/ Weakening August water"). It has you picturing autumn leaves falling from the trees under the dwindling sun. Just perfection.
Described as "a road-movie depicting Northwest American landscapes and the people and animals that inhabit them", you can watch artist Kersti Jan Werdal's accompanying Shore film in the video player above.
Other highlights include the melody-filled 'Jara', second track 'Sunblind' (with the delightful chorus "I'm gonna swim for a week in/ Warm American Water with dear friends") and 'Cradling Mother, Cradling Woman', which features a sample of Brian Wilson. Like what you hear? Well, singer Robin Pecknold, in a lengthy statement about the album, has committed to releasing another 9 songs next year. Big result for fans of Indie-Folk!
Matthew Strauss, in his 8.3 rated review on Pitchfork, wrote that "on his fourth album, singer-songwriter Robin Pecknold refines and hones Fleet Foxes’ crisp folk-rock sound, crafting another musically adventurous album that is warm and newly full of grace". And 'warm' is exactly the word that sticks following each song. And if you're looking for an entry point look no further than the magnificent 'Can I Believe You'.
Focus on 'Can I Believe You'
Fleet Foxes are the kind of band you never knew you missed until they come back into your life. That's exactly how I felt on Wednesday morning hearing 'Can I Believe You' for the first time on 6Music, bringing comfort to counter sleep deprivation. Last year, lead singer Robin Pecknold put out a call to fans on Instagram for help with the singing on this track, resulting in over 400 supporting vocal harmonies mixed in brilliantly with his own. It's worked out pretty well, right?
On Apple Music, Robin provided a commentary on the track:
“That riff is the oldest thing on the album, because I wrote that in the middle of the Crack-Up tour and tried working on it then but never got anywhere with it really. Once I was thinking less about some second party that’s untrustworthy and more just one person’s own hang-ups with letting people in—like my own hang-ups with that—then the lyrics flowed a little better. Those choral voices are actually 400 or 500 people from Instagram that sent clips of them singing that line to me. And then we spent days editing them together and cleaning them up. There’s this big hug of vocals around the lead vocal that’s talking about trust or believability.”
It's heart-warming, melancholic and possibly one of their rockiest songs to date. The first time I heard it the 'Can I believe you' melody in the chorus just stuck in my mind all morning, desperately revisiting the song at the first opportunity, demanding a repeat straight away (and again in 10 minutes time). It's very rare that a song is able to have that impact, where you're buzzing off every second of its existence and dread for its conclusion (Future Island's 'For Sure' and Doves 'Carousels' provided a similar emotion following first play).
Shore is a fantastic listen from start to finish, one that unravels itself even more with each listen. It sounds (some might say) oddly quite optimistic for a time which perhaps justified another 'Helplessness Blues', but sometimes it's nice to escape the reality and travel to the American Folk landscapes painted by Robin Pecknold. It's already being celebrated by the critics as one of the album's of the year and in 'Can I Believe You' they have produced one of their greatest songs.