Sure Bank, being grateful is also staying true to yourself and expressing what comes naturally. The album is bright and open, sometimes reminiscent of the sunshine of their early songs, as well as the lighter moments of 2017. Crack-up, like “Fool’s Errand. Instead of shying away from major melodies and blissful vocal harmonies, Pecknold delves into musical bliss on songs like “Sunblind” and “Young Man’s Game,” some of the most jubilant entries in the band’s catalog. On the latter, Pecknold acknowledges the futility of pretending, singing, “I might worry every night / Find something unique to say / I might sound like a scholar / But it’s a young man’s game.” Reinvention, he implies, is misleading; refinement and reflection are rather the paths of progress.
The idea of refinement is crucial for Fleet Foxes because at first glance the band sounds remarkably like 12 years ago – without feeling like it’s retreading the sounds or themes of the past. The resurgent Crack-Up demonstrated Pecknold’s evolution as a lyricist and songwriter, someone who could write moving couplets while commanding extended metaphors and maintaining a certain distance between writers. The album also contained more complex arrangements, something Pecknold pursued Bank, where the compositions are even more textured and floating. The new album, which Pecknold performs almost entirely on his own, is alive, as if it had broken the ambitious centerpieces of previous albums (namely “The Shrine / An Argument” and “Third of May / Ōdaigahara”) and broadcast songs from these programs. efforts throughout the file. “A Long Way Past the Past,” for example, layers horns and a shifting guitar line under harmonies and Pecknold’s words about letting go of regrets. The crisp production details give Bank a natural feel, as guitars, drums and horns chirp and float in the breeze alongside the birds, whose chirps lead “Maestranza”.
Elsewhere, there are explicit nods to contemporary classical music, such as on “Jara,” which features Meara O’Reilly’s hocketing, and “Cradling Mother, Cradling Woman,” which pairs O’Reilly with a from Brian Wilson counting to sound like Philip Glass’ Einstein on the beach and, in its sampling, also recalls the early works of Steve Reich. These moments don’t last long, serving as an intro to their respective tracks, but they signal Fleet Foxes’ continued willingness to experiment and venture beyond the limits of their reputation as a folk group whose music seems so accessible. and nice coming out of the speakers at Whole Foods like at Post Malone.
Composing some of the most vibrant music of his career, Pecknold is also opening up as a writer, reverting a bit to the nature imagery of his early works while turning his poetisms into true reflections of his thoughts. On the striking “Sunblind,” Pecknold shares his love for songwriter heroes including Richard Swift, John Prine, Bill Withers, Judee Sill, Elliott Smith, David Berman and Arthur Russell. He mourns their loss and thanks them for leaving behind the gifts of their music, while connecting their art to a life fully lived. “I’ll swim for a week in / Warm American water with dear friends,” Pecknold sings, alluding to the 1998 Silver Jews opus and juxtaposing the jagged shine of Berman’s songs with the physical act of “swimming high on a lea in an Eden. “Sunblind” is all the more exhilarating by the way Pecknold stages the darkness of American water and the vast beauty of the ocean, recognizing the first and embracing the second. He returns to Berman on the closer calm “Shore,” specifically recalling the day the songwriter died. At the end of the song, Pecknold repeats, “Now the quarter moon is out”, again turning to the mourning landscape.
Pecknold’s appreciation for life, his joy despite or because of death, continues throughout Bank. Dark characters creep around the edges of the songs – for example, “These last days / crooks controlled my fate” from “Maestranza” – as if their invitations to self-pity or hatred were necessary to propel Pecknold towards rich and satisfying music without getting too sentimental. Every moment feels deserved. The highlight of the album comes on the rear half of the “Quiet Air / Gioia” propellant, where Pecknold exalts, “Oh hell walk / I never want to die.” This is a consciously excessive statement that does nothing to obscure our greater fear, serious and vulnerable in its very willingness to make this admission.
Fleet Foxes’ music has never been too heavy, but every release brings expectations. Pecknold said he wrote some of the Blues of impotence to have new material to play on tour with Joanna Newsom. And the tangled prog-folk of Crack-Up, of course, came after a six-year hiatus, landing as a great relief from all the ideas gathered during Pecknold’s time as a student at Columbia University. Bank may be Fleet Foxes’ debut album without such a heavy weight, arriving somewhat by surprise, without a long layoff, and in a cultural landscape that no longer places indie rock at the center of the musical universe. There is a freedom that manifests in the awesome “For a Week or Two” and “Thymia”, or at the start of the record with the vocals of Oxford student Uwade Akhere, suggesting that Pecknold doesn’t feel the need to lead the way or come back immediately with a massive statement. Bank look out into the world and realize that there is already enough of it, as if we are looking into the darkness and responding with beauty, acceptance and light.
Acheter: Rough Trade
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