I’m loving Shore, the new Fleet Foxes album, the more I listen to it. It is a return to form after Crack-Up which was slightly over thought in the end, as it seems to me… I said at the time of Crack-Up; ‘I have an inkling that this album…. could be a work of pure genius’. For me, that didn’t end up being the case. I might have been a bit unsure then, rightly, but with Shore, I’m positive this album is one for the ages if you have any affection for Robin Pecknold and Fleet Foxes.
This music draws further from the Folk Rock heritage of Helplessness Blues that I fell in love with, in 2011. It was the start of a journey that led me, thankfully, to The War on Drugs’ Slave Ambient in the same period and then Lost in A Dream to their last release A Deeper Understanding, one of my favourite albums of all now. This album is more accessible than Crack-Up in its hopefulness and tone. Sunblind, the second track, draws you towards the rest of the album as you hope for more open and melodic tracks. Can I Believe You pulls you further in.
The album, as with Crack-Up, is beautifully produced and sounds fantastic in these new Acoustic Energy AE509 floor standers that I have on review at the moment, helped in no small part by the stellar T+A MP 2000R amplifier.
Overall, I’m listening to this everywhere, walking the dog, driving about and cooking and you’d be forgiven for looking up with the interruption of birdsong frequently towards the end of the album that makes you wonder if you have left the door open.
There is a film associated with Shore on their website and it is gorgeous. If you have time to put on a pair of headphones for a hour, do so. From the tide washing in at the beginning for several minutes to the moon fading to cicadas at the end, it is a beautiful series of images to help you get lost in the music. It becomes a soundtrack in end to a series of nature connected images that vary from tides, sidewalks, random fields, woods, clouds and trees. It does give you perfect pause for thought in this desparate year. At least this album presents a highlight to 2020.
Shore – Track Rating (see About for rationale)
Wading in Waist-High Water *****
Can I Believe You *****
A Long Way Past the Past *****
For a Week or Two ****
Young Man’s Game ******
I’m Not My Season ****
Quiet Air / Gioia ****
Going-to-the-Sun Road ****
Cradling Mother, Cradling Woman *****
Album – Shore
Artist – Fleet Foxes
Label – Rough Trade
Released – 22 Sept 2020
Download These At Least – Sunblind, Can I Believe You, Young Man’s Game, Shore
Player – Bluesound Node 2i, desktop BluOS
Amplification – T+A MP 2000 R
Output – Acoustic Energy AE509
Cables – QED Supremus speaker cable, Vertere Redline interconnects
(Film watched on DELL XPS with Red DragonFly and Oppo PM3s, gorgeous)