Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sorry old friend, I neglected you

First I got really busy at work. Then I got deathly ill from what might have been best described at the stomach flu mixed with a touch of the Bubonic plaque. Then I picked up a new writing gig (more on that in a minute) so I have some to neglect my old friend here for the past week or so. But now I'm back and ready to talk some music.

A bit about the other gig. I will be writing two days a week (Fridays and Saturdays) for a wonderful blog called Monkey With A Halo. They cover the Los Angels of Anaheim (baseball for those of you not indoctrinated to US sports), which I am huge fan. I am very excited about this chance and hope to bring my voice to the world of sports as I have with music. Should be fun.

So back to the music. I have been kicking a bunch of stuff around for awhile now but with little real interest. So I settled on reviewing the new FLEET FOXES record. There has been a lot of buzz about this one and I went in with high expectations. This were heightened even further when Robin Peckhold dropped a solo ep that is gorgeous. But "Cosmic Tomes for Mental Therapy" leaves me a bit wanting.

Opening strong with the somber "Montezuma", the record falls into a nice groove full of 70's references such as the dual harmonies on "Bedouin Dress" and the shuffle on "Battery Kinzie". The Foxes are aching to transport us back in time to the golden era of AM radio with music that sounds like the open road at dusk. There are flashes of Middle Eastern influence on "Sim Sala Bim" and their is ample flute usage on "The Plains/Bitter Dancer". "Helplessness Blues" is far and away the highlight of the record as it builds slowly to a quickened pace of a country stomp played by a Led Zeppelin at their quieter moments.

I think Fleet Foxes suffers because although musically they take chances, the lack of vocal changes makes the record seem repetitive. A falsetto here or a baritone there might have served the overall sound well. Perhaps more time will reveal the hidden depths. It feels like a record that with time will grow on me.

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