Fleet Foxes

First Collection 2006 – 2009

Sub Pop

Dec 27, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


It's hard to believe that 10 years ago, Fleet Foxes had only just begun their meteoric rise. It's even harder to believe that in an early three-year span (2006-2009) of their career, the band managed to issue two of the most influential releases of any new band at the time, in one year (2008), and get signed by Sub Pop to release their modern classic of a debut. The band's ephemeral harmonies, shifting arrangements, and often simple folk orchestration quickly made them the darlings of indie rock, with praise heaped upon them from music critics all across the international music spectrum. With the obvious comparisons drawn to CSNY and Brian Wilson, yet with a sound married to rare chorale elements, this attention catapulted the band to the forefront of the indie folk boom of the late noughties.

For a reissue, First Collection 2006 - 2009 is a swelling reintroduction to the band, a blueprint of trial and error and a consistent tinkering to perfection. Amidst the self-titled debut LP is the Sun Giant EP and the extremely hard-to-find, self-released The Fleet Foxes EP (2006), as well as a handful of B-sides, demos, sketches, and rarities.

Of the more unheard tracks in the collection, there are of course a few standouts. Lead single "Isles" (which appeared on The Fleet Foxes EP) and follow-up single "Icicle Tusk" sound comfortably old. The former features Robin Pecknold's signature non-narrative lyrics, though with a stillness capable of producing emotions you didn't know you could feel. The latter is a perfect blend of the band's early harmonic workings, sparse tranquility, and poetic bliss.

Other songs on this early EP sound as if the band is still figuring themselves out. "Anyone Who's Anyone" comes across like an homage to The Shins, while "In the Hot Hot Rays" is tinged with electric guitar work: both are great tracks but represent quite a different personality from the band's material just two years later. 

Later in the collection, four "basement" tracks outline the band's early approaches to recordings. Notably, "He Doesn't Know Why (Basement Demo)" sounds absolutely nothing like the version that remains today.

The thought processes of this band are etched on Pecknold's frail voice, but the development as a whole is something to truly marvel in. (www.fleetfoxes.co/first-collection)

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