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.
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." According to the producer it was when Robin began writing differently that he thought it was time to do something "for real".
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.
Several media outlets have given very positive reviews such as Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Uncut, Pitchfork Media, MOJO, and Entertainment Weekly.The Guardian described it to be "a landmark in American music, an instant classic". Similar praise was put upon the album by Allmusic, which stated that "Fleet Foxes is such a satisfying, self-assured debut".Uncut magazine awarded the album their inaugural Uncut Award in 2008 for "the most rewarding album of the past 12 months".Q magazine voted it the second best album of 2008 while it topped The Times "100 best records of 2008" list. 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.
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. As of November 2013, it has sold over 500,000 copies in the United States.
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.
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.
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.