Review: Crack-Up by Fleet Foxes

Crack-Up by Fleet FoxesIt’s been six years since Fleet Foxes released Helplessness Blues, with Robin Pecknold putting the project on hold when he decided to study. Their return was gradual, too, littered with clues, as if leading us back to the warm, pastoral sound the group somewhat pioneered with their successful debut back in 2008. But, yes, the world has changed, and so has Fleet Foxes; their new record, Crack-Up, sees them continue to pursue that folk sound, but take in more influences. The result is a sound that feels serene but has some sort of darkness lurking within. Sure, they have been dark (don’t tell me “Mykonos” isn’t) but it’s like they could no longer keep the illusion going, like all the trees around them have been taken down, to be replaced by fossil fuel-burning factories. Dare I say, it feels like a response to the Trump presidency. However, as much as the album takes some pride in being able to keep it all together, I get the feeling that they themselves could not quite ease into it. Six years is a long time, and things have to be shaken off. That air of hesitation makes for an interesting record, sure, but Crack-Up somehow fails to go as far as it should. [NB]3/5

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