The eponymous, full-length debut from this Seattle-based quintet sounds like some gorgeous hippy folk rock thing my father would have played on his turntable in 1975—and I mean that in the most gushingly nostalgic and positive way possible. It’s something about this band’s shimmering melodies, hymnal harmonies and subtle sonic bursts that channels a weirdly familiar sense of Simon and Garfunkel, CSNY and a million other things without ever getting blatantly derivative. Or sounding old. It’s strange that way.
I credit the vocals. “White Winter Hymnal” shows off an a capella interplay that should be reserved for a white church in some sun-drenched Appalachian meadow. Robin Pecknold’s lead vocals eventually win out with riddles like, “I was following the pack/ All swallowed in their coats/ With scarves of red tied ’round their throats/ To keep their little heads from falling in the snow/ And I turned ’round and there you go.” By the end it sounds as much like the Shins—their producer, Phil Ek, is at the helm here—as anything that debuted at the Monterey Pop Festival. “Ragged Wood” and “Blue Ridge Mountains” follow in the same dexterous vein.
Sub Pop, recognizing the band’s odd grip on a lost sound, released this effort on vinyl. Short of hearing how Fleet Foxes sounds live—they’re currently touring with Wilco; no solo Missoula dates scheduled yet—I can’t imagine a better way to hear ’em.