It's not like Fleet Foxes needs endorsements -- its show tonight at the Pageant sold out with a quickness and the band's sophomore full-length, Helplessness Blues, peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard album chart. It's still hanging around at No. 61.
And in spite of the fact that this was a band built for backlash -- relatively meteoric success, seemingly easy to pigeonhole -- the new stuff has been greeted with about as much adoration as the old stuff. The Foxes just played the Pitchfork Music Festival, and by all accounts the folksters stood toe-to-toe with indie heavyweights and much newer flavors-of-the-month.
Diana Benanti, writing about the festival for this here publication, found herself pleasantly surprised:
I'm a fair-weather Fleet Foxes fan, and I expected to feel that the music is just too intimate for the great outdoors. Boy, was I wrong. Fleet Foxes was as pleasant as the balmy breeze cleansing Union Park.
I found them surprisingly compelling; they didn't just recreate the albums onstage, there were instrumental red herrings, songs glided imperceptibly into one another, and getting lost in the lush harmonies for a solid hour was definitely one of the best parts of the festival so far. In interviews, principal songwriter and lead singer Robin Pecknold sounds about as confident as Woody Allen and Larry David's love child, and he appeared truly humbled by the massive, exuberant crowd. "Thank you guys so much for being so fucking awesome. I was really nervous about this, but I think it's going alright." Before the end, he proclaimed Pitchfork the "best festival, no bull" and said they'd be back. Naturally, they played some of the best tracks from Helplessness Blues, but peppered in enough of the old favorites; "White Winter Hymnal," "Mykonos," "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song," "Blue Ridge Mountains." Restrained where they needed to be and swelling to blissful crescendos when warranted, it was a solid cap to Day Two. Though I really wanted someone, anyone, to yell "Play 'Horse with No Name'!"
Count us among the somewhat skeptical converts. Again, this one's sold out, but there are still tickets floating around out there, naturally. Alela Diane and Wild Divine will open.