“Shore” is the sweet saving grace that our ears needed for 2020. Crack the car windows and go for a long drive, turn up “Shore” and let your hair blow in the wind. Its calming, inspiring sounds make you feel free – something a lot of us have felt missing among this year’s tension. Fleet Foxes’ latest album brings us back to their early sound, more similar to “Helplessness Blues” with its smooth, folk-rock sound, without sounding like it’s repeating itself.
Lead singer Robin Pecknold exposes his poetic, nature-filled lyrics once again, taking the listener to a different place, as if they are lost in a good book. His soothing harmonies and acoustic guitar almost reflect that of The Everly Brothers as he pays due to recently passed musical legends like David Bowie, David Berman and more. My favorite tracks on the record, “Quiet Air / Gioia” and “Shore” offer a soothing, soft beat that can’t help but make me dance with slowly flailing arms.
“Shore” came as a bit of a surprise to Fleet Foxes fans. With a six year time gap between “Helplessness Blues” and “Crack-Up,” it seemed we were on track for another long-awaited next album. That is, until the “Shore” album cover showed up on plastered posters just days before its would-be release. On the autumnal equinox at 6:31 a.m. PT, the band’s new album suddenly showed up everywhere online. Though Pecknold told “The Ringer,” “we’re not Taylor Swift or Beyonce,” they actually now have more in common than they think (see Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” and Beyonce’s self-titled album). Though a surprise album release with no marketing can be risky, it sure has paid off for these three.
Each Fleet Foxes album has brought high expectations, especially with such a strong start in “Sun Giant,” and year-long waits in between records just adds to the pressure. So, an unexpected, beautiful album was just what the world needed, especially in a time with such stressing factors and unknown future.