Words: Milo Hempel
Indie-folk/baroque-pop legends Fleet Foxes have returned, for the first time in 6 years since their landmark 2011 album Helplessness Blues. And with this new album, Crack-Up, they continue further down the path that they were headed on that album, getting more subtle and more beautiful as they go on. Crack-Up consists of 54 minutes of beautiful winding musical passages, vivid lyrical imagery, and fantastic performances from each member of the band. The anachronistic beauty which made their first two albums so appealing is still very much present, but far subtler the on the previous records. Frontman Robin Pecknold is on outstanding lyrical and vocal form, as his lyrics weave in and out of these beautiful musical passages, serenading the listener with often hauntingly beautiful lyrics, such as the refrain on Kept Woman. “Anna, you’re lost in a shadow there, Cinder and smoke hanging in the air”.
The album kicks off with the incredible opener I Am All That I need, which explores themes of independence and separation from a loved one, over swelling strings and Robin’s soft voice going from a whisper to almost a yell throughout the track, it’s a stunning opener. It then moves onto Cassius, which incorporates electronics in an extremely tasteful and effective way, combined with lyrics that sound like they could be talking about medieval times, but apply to the issues of the present perfectly. The album continues after this with great song after great song, including the grand single Third of May, the subtle but beautiful I Should See Memphis, and the fantastic, emotionally potent closer, Crack-Up.
With this album, Fleet Foxes have somehow lived up to, and surpassed even, the gigantic expectations set by their first two stellar albums. Crack-Up is without doubt one of the best albums of 2017, and one to remember for years to come.