There is a beautiful semi-Biblical, stripped back quality to the music of Fleet Foxes that is extremely compelling. Wrapped under a thick blanket of Americana and new world dreaming, their debut LP walks that lovely line between hope and despair. This is the kind of music that pulls at your heart until it breaks, but never completely crushes you. It's not dominated by a depressing mood, but also doesn't fill you with a great sense of positivity. The group have somehow created a beast that balances the two perfectly - often within the same breathe - and that is the true beauty of this record.
There is also a great timeless quality to this album. The barbershop quartet style vocals could easily have been recorded at any time over the past 50 years, as could many of the acoustic arrangements which - besides the high quality of the recording - don't show any 21st century characteristics. The way in which this album exists in it's own time and space also gives it a great mystic and uninfluenced aura.
If there is one element of this record that weakens it however it's that at times it all seems a little bit confined. Both the music and the vocals exist between two fixed endpoints, with only a narrow window of variety across the release. Even though this ads weight to the consistent flow of the record and makes it feel a lot more like a single body of work, it also makes it feel slightly restricted, damaging the overall creative feel.
It must be stressed that this small, unintentional indiscretion doesn't take too much away from the overall quality of what is a great record. Fleet Foxes, while far from re-inventing a round object that resembles a wheel, have put together an incredibly engrossing record, which has both the power to knock you over on your first listen, yet also completely engross you after a few repeats. This is an album I think will easily survive the perils of time and the changing of trends. I am positive I will still be listening to this in 20 years time.