Fleet Foxes

    {grate 3.5} Arecently broken five-piece out of the Pacific
    Northwest
    , Fleet Foxes certainly pushes the envelope when it comes
    to being classified as indie rock after their second EP, Sun Giant. The term is
    unabashedly broad, but Fleet Foxes barely qualify as rock with their soft and
    slow blend of meandering guitar chords and sentimental lyrics, with a generous
    helping of old-fashioned folk melodies and dreamy harmonies that sound vaguely
    like church organs. Fleet Foxes call their own music “baroque harmonic pop
    jams,” a phrase that likely means nothing to the average listener unschooled in
    technical music terms and even less concerned with the dilemma of accurately
    labeling their addition to the genre.

    The song titles (like “Drops in the River” and “Innocent
    Son”), along with the folksy lyrics, underwhelming tone and even the band’s
    MySpace page all mesh to form a highly rural and agrarian musical landscape.
    The instrumentation frequently retreats far into the background, occasionally
    vanishing entirely in favor of showcasing the amplified and likely synthesized
    lyrical intonations. Even when the pace picks up — a rare occurrence — it
    rarely ventures beyond a trot, preferring to stay within the confines of its
    laid-back rhythm and tone.

    Despite its tendency to lazily weave toward being soporific
    instead of relaxing, Sun Giant is cleverly constructed to flaunt Fleet Foxes’
    broad audience appeal. While college-age students and especially the younger
    generation may be less than impressed at their comparatively lethargic sound —
    perhaps making mainstream success in the near future elusive — those who
    embrace a diversity of musical tastes will enjoy Fleet Foxes’ refreshingly
    low-key style. The band’s execution and integration of elements from soft rock,
    pop, bluegrass, gospel and even New Age has the potential to gather listeners
    from across the tonal spectrum.

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