Fleet Foxes (album)

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This article is about the album. For the article about the band's also self-titled debut EP, see Fleet Foxes (EP).
Fleet Foxes
Studio album by Fleet Foxes
Released June 3, 2008
Recorded Summer and Autumn 2007
Genre Indie folk, baroque pop, folk rock
Length 39:15
Label Bella Union, Sub Pop
Producer Phil Ek
Fleet Foxes chronology
Sun Giant (EP)
(2008)
Fleet Foxes (2008) Helplessness Blues
(2011)

Fleet Foxes is the eponymous debut studio album by the Seattle, Washington-based band Fleet Foxes. It was released on June 3, 2008, in the United States and June 9 in the United Kingdom. The album debuted at #11 on the UK album charts, eventually peaking at #3, and on June 26, 2008, it debuted in Sweden at #34, eventually reaching peak position at #16. It was one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2008 with reviews averaging four or five stars out of five.

Recording[edit]

Producer, and Pecknold family friend, Phil Ek had earlier helped Fleet Foxes record their first demo and used his influence to assist in shopping it to record labels. Ek described the demo as "a very different sound but [...] still very good."[1] According to the producer it was when Robin began writing differently that he thought it was time to do something "for real".[1]

The resulting album was recorded with Ek over the course of a year. As Sub Pop had yet to get involved with the band at this point, the recording was funded by the group themselves.[1]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.0/5 stars [2]
Entertainment Weekly (A) [3]
The Guardian 5/5 stars [4]
NME (7/10) [5]
The Observer 5/5 stars [6]
PopMatters (8/10) [7]
Pitchfork Media (9.0/10) [8]
Robert Christgau (dud)[9]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [10]
Spin 4/5 stars [11]
The Times 5/5 stars [12]
Uncut 5/5 stars [13]

Several media outlets have given very positive reviews such as Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Uncut, Pitchfork Media, MOJO, and Entertainment Weekly.[14] The Guardian described it to be "a landmark in American music, an instant classic".[4] Similar praise was put upon the album by Allmusic, which stated that "Fleet Foxes is such a satisfying, self-assured debut".[2] Uncut magazine awarded the album their inaugural Uncut Award in 2008 for "the most rewarding album of the past 12 months".[15] Q magazine voted it the second best album of 2008 while it topped The Times "100 best records of 2008" list.[16] and captured the #3 slot on WERS Boston's Top 50 of 2008 list. The album was also reviewed on the 'In A Word' section of the weekly podcast EGGCAST, where it was described as 'cosy' and 'organic'. MOJO gave the debut the seldom-awarded "Instant Classic" label. Until Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me in the April 2010 issue, it was the last album to receive this honor. Geddy Lee of Rush included this album among his favourites in a list from an interview with The Quietus. The album was ranked #36 on Rolling Stone's list of the 40 Greatest Stoner Albums.[17]

The album had sold over 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom by the end of 2008, making it the first gold certificate record released by label Bella Union.[18] As of November 2013, it has sold over 500,000 copies in the United States.[19]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Amazon.com U.S. Best Music of 2008 (Editors' Pick) 2008 #3[20]
Drowned in Sound UK 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #45[21]
Q UK 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #2[22]
Rolling Stone U.S. 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #11[23]
Spin U.S. 40 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #5[24]
The Times UK 100 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #1[16]
Pitchfork Media U.S. 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #1[25]
Billboard.com U.S. 10 Best Albums of the Year (Critics’ Choice) 2008 #1
Paste U.S. Top 50 Albums of 2008 2008 #6
WERS Boston U.S. Top 50 Albums of 2008 2008 #3
Under the Radar U.S. Best of 2008 2008 #1
No Ripcord UK Top 50 Albums of 2008 2008 #1
Mojo UK Top 50 Albums of 2008 2008 #1
Dagbladet Norway Top International Albums of 2008 2008 #9
The Know Australia Top 10 Albums of 2008 2008 #5
Rolling Stone U.S. 100 Best Albums of the Decade 2009 #47[26]
Rhapsody U.S. 100 Best Albums of the Decade 2009 #56[27]
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die UK 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die 2009 -[28]

Cover art[edit]

The cover art is a detail of the 1559 painting Netherlandish Proverbs by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Vocalist/guitarist Robin Pecknold notes that:

When you first see that painting it's very bucolic, but when you look closer there's all this really strange stuff going on, like dudes defecating coins into the river and people on fire, people carving a live sheep, this weird dude who looks like a tree root sitting around with a dog. There's all this really weird stuff going on. I liked that the first impression is that it's just pretty, but then you realize that the scene is this weird chaos. I like that you can't really take it for what it is, that your first impression of it is wrong.[29]

Pecknold explained to Mojo how the painting ended up on the front cover:

We were trying to figure out what we wanted to do, and my brother had been working out some stuff, when I saw that Bruegel painting in a book my girlfriend had. I liked that it had a really intriguing meaning, like there's a story to each little scene. Which I just felt fitting for that record- dense but unified, not a collage or anything. And I liked its Where's Waldo? quality, that it was something you could look at for a long time on a vinyl sleeve and find new little things. It was very easy to get the museum in Berlin that has it to say yes. They were super excited a band wanted to use it and put it in their newsletter. When you open it up on the inside there's a paisley pattern traced from the back of a book that Skye (Skjelset, lead guitar)'s mum got me. We wanted two very different feelings.[30]

The cover claimed the Best Art Vinyl Award 2008, an annual award, organized by Artvinyl.com, a company that manufactures display frames for record albums.[31]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Robin Pecknold.

Disc one[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Sun It Rises"   3:14
2. "White Winter Hymnal"   2:27
3. "Ragged Wood"   5:07
4. "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song"   3:28
5. "Quiet Houses"   3:32
6. "He Doesn't Know Why"   3:20
7. "Heard Them Stirring"   3:02
8. "Your Protector"   4:09
9. "Meadowlarks"   3:11
10. "Blue Ridge Mountains"   4:25
11. "Oliver James"   3:23

Disc two (2008 Limited Edition)[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Sun Giant"   2:06
2. "Drops in the River"   4:11
3. "English House"   4:48
4. "Mykonos (alternate version)"   3:39
5. "Isles"   3:06

Disc two (2009 Japanese Limited Edition)[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Sun Giant"   2:14
2. "Drops in the River"   4:12
3. "English House"   4:40
4. "Mykonos"   4:35
5. "Innocent Son"   3:06
6. "False Knight on the Road"   3:45

Personnel[edit]

  • Robin Pecknold: band member, songwriter, arranger, design [uncredited: lead vocals, guitar]
  • Skyler Skjelset: band member, arranger [uncredited: lead guitar]
  • Nicholas Peterson: band member, arranger [uncredited: drums, percussion, vocals]
  • Casey Wescott: band member, arranger [uncredited: keyboards, vocals]
  • Craig Curran: band member, arranger [uncredited: bass, vocals]
  • Gwen Owen: flute on "Your Protector"
  • Phil Ek: producer, engineer, mixer
  • Ed Brooks: mastering
  • Sasha Barr: Design
  • Dusty Summers: Design

The liner notes do not state which instruments the band members perform. Former drummer J. Tillman joined the group after recordings had been completed, but prior to the album's release.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Interview With Phil Ek", HitQuarters, 25 May 2009.
  2. ^ a b Phares, Heather (2008). "Fleet Foxes: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  3. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  4. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (2008-05-30). "Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  5. ^ NME review
  6. ^ The Observer review
  7. ^ PopMatters review
  8. ^ Pitchfork review
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Fleet Foxes". Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Rolling Stone review
  11. ^ Spin review
  12. ^ The Times review
  13. ^ Uncut review
  14. ^ "Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  15. ^ "Uncut Award 2008". Uncut. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  16. ^ a b The 100 best records of 2008. The Times (2008-12-07). Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ Paine, Andre (2008-12-23). Fleet Foxes Go Gold In United Kingdom. Billboard. Retrieved on 2009-01-29.
  19. ^ RIAA (2013-11-18). [2]. RIAA. Retrieved on 2013-11-21.
  20. ^ Amazon Music: Best of 2008. Amazon.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  21. ^ Drowned in Sound's 50 albums of 2008. Drowned in Sound. Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  22. ^ Q Magazine Jan 09, pg.87
  23. ^ The 50 Best Albums of 2008. Rolling Stone (2008-12-25). Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  24. ^ The 40 Best Albums of 2008. Spin Magazine (2008-12-11). Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  25. ^ The 50 Best Albums of 2008. Pitchfork Media (2008-12-19). Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  26. ^ 100 Best Albums of the Decade . Rolling Stone' (2009-12-09) Retrieved on 2009-12-17.
  27. ^ 100 Best Albums of the Decade . Rhapsody blog (2009-12-04) Retrieved on 2010-8-31.
  28. ^ Dimery, Robert (2009). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Octopus Publishing Group, London. p. 946. ISBN 9781844036240. Retrieved 2012-09-23. 
  29. ^ Milway, Tom (2008-06-09). "DiScover: Fleet Foxes". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  30. ^ White Winter Hymnal Songfacts
  31. ^ Fleet Foxes win album artwork prize. NME (2009-01-05). Retrieved on 2009-02-05.