Between its timelessness and originality, The Fleet Foxes managed to take the indie-rock world by storm in 2008 with their eponymous debut release. On one level, Fleet Foxes succeeds through its ability to transport listeners into another world altogether—one devoid of all the complexities of modern life. More importantly, however, the triumph of this stunning debut lies in the manner in which this Seattle group confidently conquers with their idyllic aesthetic.
Between the spirited simplicity of “White Winter Hymnal” and the mysterious pastoral beauty of “Your Protector,” The Fleet Foxes effectively combine soaring harmonies with an unadorned and effective rhythmic style. This ambiance is never more apparent than with the instrumental arrangement on “Ragged Wood,” which draws striking similarities to My Morning Jacket’s “Golden.” But with the Pecknold-led harmonies and dynamics found here; the song undertakes a whole other façade, as it transforms into a lush and majestic journey all too easy to become lost within.
Lead vocalist Robin Pecknold exhibits a penchant for the dramatic throughout the course of the album, including the ballad “He Doesn’t Know Why,” as he unabashedly surrenders, “There’s nothing I can do, There’s nothing I can say,” as the choir of harmonic supports sweeps under his emphatic voice, creating one of Fleet Foxes’ most chillingly gorgeous moments. And while much of the beauty of the Fleet Foxes remains with their illustrious, collaborative vocal arrangement, Pecknold repeatedly stands at the forefront of this album, including the stunning album closer “Oliver James,” which concludes with him belting out the final two-line chorus without any accompaniment. This astonishing display of his voice is easy to miss if not listening carefully, but it stands as one of the most powerful moments on Fleet Foxes. This enduring album closes at one of its highest moments of brilliance, leaving listeners with a desire to remain in the world created by the band’s magnificent debut.
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#22 Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala (2007)
#23 Beach House - Devotion (2008)
#24 El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead (2007)
#25 Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)