Wild Mercury Sound

Fleet Foxes: some songs on Myspace

John Mulvey

The prospect of a new My Morning Jacket album in June is pretty tantalising (though I hope it's better than the fractionally disappointing "Z"). In the meantime, though, an excellent band from Seattle seem to be providing a very useful diversion.

Fleet Foxes may look a little disconcertingly Kings Of Leon-ish in their photographs. But have a listen to the tracks on their Myspace page: they're great.

My Morning Jacket and, I guess, Band Of Horses are the easiest reference points, since Fleet Foxes have definitely got that high, yearning kind of Cosmic American thing down to a tee. Instead of rocking as hard as MMJ at their best, though, FF seem to be heading down a folksier, hazier path.

So of the tracks playing at the Myspace, "White Winter Hymnal" definitely has a hint of Sacred Harp choral groups to the harmonies; that form of backwoods gospel singing that invariably has a transcendent, otherworldly air when it's done well. There's a danger, when an indie band appropriate this sort of stuff, that the desperate striving for old-world atmosphere might end up sounding rather hokey.

Fortunately, Fleet Foxes have the dazed, close-harmony skills (hints of The Beach Boys, too, especially on "Sun It Rises") to carry it off. There's an EP due out in the UK in May, with the album to follow in June, apparently (maybe Sub Pop have different plans for the States). Very good, anyway: as ever, I'll report back when I hear the full records. But in the meantime, have a listen and let me know what you think.


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