Track Review: Fleet Foxes- Third of May/Ōdaigahara

Before I get into this track, I want to take a moment to talk about something that’s been gradually happening for decades. Artists are taking really long between albums these days, aren’t they? I mean, Tool have supposedly been working on the follow up to 10,000 Days for nearly ELEVEN YEARS at this point. It’s been six years since the last Fleet Foxes album, and while I guess they have an excuse since they went on hiatus for a while, it still seems crazy to think that their last record came out in 2011.

And boy did they stage quite the comeback with this song. These indie-folk rockers are getting ambitious. While there always was a bit of baroque grandiosity in the band’s DNA, coming back from a six-year hiatus with a nine-minute-long multi-movement opus as the lead single for your new album almost seems like intentional provocation.

Not that I’m complaining. Everything great about Fleet Foxes is here: the beautifully earthy production, the sweet melodies, those crisp vocal harmonies. It’s all bound up in a song that seems to span a whole album’s worth of musical ideas. Progressive folk is most-definitely a well that is ripe for tapping, and this is a great break from a lot of the hopelessly boring WGWAG music that passes for indie folk in 2017.

As I’ve stated numerous times in past reviews, I love songs that go through a bunch of “phases”. Comparisons to “Paranoid Android”, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”, or “Bohemian Rhapsody” are so overused it’s almost become a cliché, but there’s a reason for that. To me, there’s something beautiful about a piece of music that ends up in a completely different place from where it started, and this track has that in spades. The whole thing has a sort of globe-trotting feel to it, incorporating everything from Appalachian folk to something that registers as vaguely East Asian to my ears during the atmospheric outro.

I’m most likely insanely biased since I’m a huge fan of this band, and simply seeing the words “new Fleet Foxes” is enough to make me stop whatever I’m doing at the moment. But if this track is any indication, their upcoming album Crack Up is gonna be one hell of a trip.

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