Fleet Foxes have released “Crack Up,” their first new music in six years.

Known for their iconic Indie sound and abundant folk-rock harmonies, little has been heard from the band recently as frontman Robin Pecknold has been on a retreat of sorts, pursuing a degree at Columbia University.

The eleven tracks released on Friday offer evidence this is one band primed for new accolades and further accomplishments.

Sometimes heartening and often soul-searching, the new album contains the same luring components present in debut “Fleet Foxes” and its follow-up, “Helplessness Blues.”

Artful songwriting persists, and some tracks are divided into movements. “Third of May / Odaigahara,” for example, opens with fearless storytelling, ventures into reverie, moves boldly into a cacophony of sound and then dissolves in a wistful vibe reminiscent of their debut.

For fans of the first album, the beautiful simplicity “If You Need To, Keep Time On Me” comes closest to their early sound.

If You Need To, Keep Time On Me

About Fleet Foxes

While attending high school together in Seattle, lead singer Pecknold and musician Skyler Skjelset bonded over a mutual appreciation for Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Pecknold assumed the role of principal songwriter while Skjelset played lead guitar.

They performed in Copenhagen in 2008 and also released two EP’s. The band became increasingly popular, attracting more than a quarter of a million song plays on their MySpace site over a two-month period.

Signed by Sub Pop records, their “Fleet Foxes” debut was released in 2008, garnering critical success including 4 out of 5 stars from Rolling Stone.

That release made them even more popular in Europe than in the U.S.; it was rated album of the year by Billboard’s Critic’s Choice. The Guardian rightfully hailed it as “a landmark in American music.”

“Helplessness Blues” was released in 2011 to somewhat less enthusiastic but overall positive reception. Also during this time drummer Josh Tillman left the band to become recording artist Father John Misty.

An album trailer for the new release posted to YouTube in April.

The band’s musical influences are varied, and include 60s folk-rockers The Byrds as well as Roy Harper, Crosby Stills & Nash, Van Morrison and fingerstyle guitarist John Fahey.

New album triumphs

On the new album the band proves that strong compositions, lovely imagery and stellar harmonies are still their forte.

One of the best new albums so far this year, “Crack Up” also triumphs with new approaches and surprising variety framed within the band’s signature sound.

Fans are sure to love colorful opening track “I Am All That I Need,” as well as the expressive acoustic guitar and introspective passages of tracks like “Third of May.”

And the haunting, heartfelt beauty of “Kept Woman” is simply stunning.

Kept Woman

Currently touring in Europe, the band performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week and plays Troutdale’s Edgefield in September.

Don’t miss them.

Cynthia Orlando
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