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
Fleet foxes.jpg
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)
Fleet Foxes (2008) Helplessness Blues
Singles from Fleet Foxes
  1. "White Winter Hymnal"
    Released: July 21, 2008
  2. "He Doesn't Know Why"
    Released: 2008
  3. "Your Protector"
    Released: 2009

Fleet Foxes is the 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.

Many critics ranked Fleet Foxes one of the best albums of 2008, with reviews averaging four to 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."[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]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 87/100[2]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[3]
The A.V. Club B+[4]
Entertainment Weekly A[5]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[6]
MSN Music (dud)[7]
NME 7/10[8]
Pitchfork Media 9.0/10[9]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[10]
Spin 4/5 stars[11]
Uncut 4/5 stars[12]

Several media outlets have given very positive reviews such as Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Uncut, Pitchfork Media, MOJO, and Entertainment Weekly.[13] The Guardian described it to be "a landmark in American music, an instant classic".[6] Similar praise was put upon the album by Allmusic, which stated that "Fleet Foxes is such a satisfying, self-assured debut".[3]

Uncut magazine awarded the album their inaugural Uncut Award in 2008 for "the most rewarding album of the past 12 months".[14] Q magazine voted it the second best album of 2008 while it topped The Times "100 best records of 2008" list.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17] As of November 2013, it has sold over 500,000 copies in the United States.[18]


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Amazon.com U.S. Best Music of 2008 (Editors' Pick) 2008 #3[19]
Drowned in Sound UK 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #45[20]
Q UK 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #2[21]
Rolling Stone U.S. 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #11[22]
Spin U.S. 40 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #5[23]
The Times UK 100 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #1[15]
Pitchfork Media U.S. 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #1[24]
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[25]
Rhapsody U.S. 100 Best Albums of the Decade 2009 #56[26]
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die UK 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die 2009 -[27]

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.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30]

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


  • 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.


Region Certification Sales/shipments
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[32] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c "Interview With Phil Ek", HitQuarters, 25 May 2009.
  2. ^ "Reviews for Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes". Metacritic. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes". AllMusic. Retrieved July 22, 2008. 
  4. ^ O'Neal, Sean (June 9, 2008). "Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes". The A.V. Club. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  5. ^ Cook, LaRue (June 6, 2008). "Fleet Foxes". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (May 30, 2008). "Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes". The Guardian. Retrieved July 22, 2008. 
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (November 2008). "Consumer Guide". MSN Music. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  8. ^ Murison, Krissi (June 5, 2008). "Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes". NME. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  9. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (June 6, 2008). "Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  10. ^ Hermes, Will (June 12, 2008). "Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  11. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (June 2008). "Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes". Spin 24 (6): 108. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  12. ^ Mulvey, John (June 5, 2008). "Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes". Uncut. Archived from the original on November 21, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  14. ^ "Uncut Award 2008". Uncut. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  15. ^ a b The 100 best records of 2008. The Times (2008-12-07). Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ Paine, Andre (2008-12-23). Fleet Foxes Go Gold In United Kingdom. Billboard. Retrieved on 2009-01-29.
  18. ^ RIAA (2013-11-18). [2]. RIAA. Retrieved on 2013-11-21.
  19. ^ Amazon Music: Best of 2008. Amazon.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  20. ^ Drowned in Sound's 50 albums of 2008. Drowned in Sound. Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  21. ^ Q Magazine Jan 09, pg.87
  22. ^ The 50 Best Albums of 2008. Rolling Stone (2008-12-25). Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  23. ^ The 40 Best Albums of 2008. Spin Magazine (2008-12-11). Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  24. ^ The 50 Best Albums of 2008. Pitchfork Media (2008-12-19). Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  25. ^ 100 Best Albums of the Decade . Rolling Stone' (2009-12-09) Retrieved on 2009-12-17.
  26. ^ 100 Best Albums of the Decade . Rhapsody blog (2009-12-04) Retrieved on 2010-8-31.
  27. ^ Dimery, Robert (2009). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Octopus Publishing Group, London. p. 946. ISBN 9781844036240. Retrieved 2012-09-23. 
  28. ^ Milway, Tom (2008-06-09). "DiScover: Fleet Foxes". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  29. ^ White Winter Hymnal Songfacts
  30. ^ Fleet Foxes win album artwork prize. NME (2009-01-05). Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  31. ^ "British album certifications – Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Fleet Foxes in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  32. ^ "American album certifications – Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH