Album: Fleet Foxes, Sun Giant (Bella Union)
Friday 25 April 2008
Seattle quintet Fleet Foxes were the surprise hit of this year's SXSW Festival – and no wonder, if this sublime debut is anything to go by.
Though intended merely as a tour souvenir, and disdained by the band as unrepresentative of their ambitions, this five-track EP has the kind of otherworldly grace that has in recent years brought mainstream acclaim to such fringe artists as Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, Iron & Wine and Arcade Fire. Harnessing gorgeous harmonies to folk-rock arrangements with the sort of enigmatic melodies favoured by The Shins, they're courageous enough to open with an a cappella title-track, capped with a delicate mandolin coda that doesn't disturb the song's fragile meniscus. Elsewhere, there are elegant Pentanglish folkisms, awed apprehensions of wonder at real life, and echoes of West Coast baroque-pop harmonists like The Association and America; but at their best, as on "Innocent Son", there's a tainted piety to Fleet Foxes' music that seems to straddle the secular and the sacred rather like a white, folkie equivalent of soul music. A mouth-watering taster for a full-length album later this year.
Pick of the Album: 'Innocent Son', 'Sun Giant', 'Mykonos', 'English House', 'Drops In The River'
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
After Sam Smith’s Mobo success, is the help of a pushy parent the surest route to stardom?
Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring 'greying' 33-year-old wizard
JK Rowling to publish new Harry Potter story online for Halloween
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts