Indie | Folk
While it’s fitting of my luck that I receive the biggest wave of great new albums this month towards the very last week, I am simultaneously happy to have ended a rather daunting month on a musical high. And what better way to conclude the month of september, than a brand new album release from Fleet Foxes.
Shore is the fourth studio album from the indie-folk collective that is Fleet Foxes. The only other instance of me having a proper listen to the band, would be with their sophomore album, 2011’s Helplessness Blues, which I discovered towards the end of last year, as part of an effort by myself to listen to some highly praised albums that came out in the 2010’s before that decade came to a conclusion. And despite listening to that album, and the name of Fleet Foxes fluttering around the back of my mind for longer than that, Shore would be the first effort of theirs that I will be reviewing.
After reading about the departure of Drummer Josh Tillman in 2012, and the bands hiatus from that year to 2016, it made sense to me that this album was instrumentally, and stylistically different to the likes of Helplessness Blues. However, the change isn’t so drastic, that the band sound completely different nowadays; their atmospheric charm that I adored on that 2011 album is definitely here to stay.
But of course, the stylistic difference in which I speak of is the fusion of their traditional folk sound, and a more accessible, borderline-pop feel, but one that retains that serene and uplifting feel that utterly soaks into the soul.
I also feel like this album, given its general sound, was released at the perfect time. It definitely feels like the kind of album that will keep our heads high in the impending colder months, with it’s warmly bittersweet feel. And thus, I feel that its appeal will only grow in the coming months.
But speaking of the album’s music, this album was as fresh of an experience for everybody else, as it was for me. As far as I can see, there were no teaser tracks to herald the arrival of Shore, so I was obviously going into this completely afresh.
And personally, I didn’t think an album like shore could’ve started off in a better way than it actually did, with the first track “Wading In Waist-High Water”, which is an absolutely gorgeous-sounding tune that transitions perfectly into the following track.
Following the amazing start, the general consensus of this album is mostly positive. I must add that I also really like the inclusion of brass instrumentation (which saw a particular abundance in the later part of the album), and this reminded me a little of Beirut’s 2019 album Gallipoli.
But while the more accessible feeling of Shore is mostly a positive change, it does prove to be a slightly double-edged sword. As a result of the more indie aesthetic, there are q fair few track on this thing that didn’t engage with me nearly as much as the best tracks that this album has to offer. Tracks like “Young Man’s Game” and “Quiet Air / Gioia” sound like tracks that would better suit a band like Catfish and the Bottlemen, if you took away the more cavernous effects.
But while I feel like I would’ve given Helplessness Blues a more positive verdict, in the case that both albums came out at the same time, Shore is still a beautifully spiritual project, which should never be described as anything less than that. It packs that level of atmosphere that I frankly feel in dire need of, and it delivers it in barrel-loads.
Favourite Tracks: Wading In Waist-High Water | Can I Believe You | A Long Way Past The Past
Least Favourite Track: For A Week Or Two
Fleet Foxes | Anti