FLEET FOXES – SHORE (2020)

Well then. Throughout this turmoil of 2020, I’ve found a shining beacon to help guide me. A truly magnificent album, one that has shone light on the blessed listeners.

There should be no surprise in this article about how much I love and adore Fleet Foxes and the master musician and lyricist, Robin Pecknold.

Having had the fortune of seeing Fleet Foxes in Sydney twice – both times at the Sydney Opera House – an incredibly beautiful and worthy venue for such an esteemed band. Both times the audience were held captivated by the mesmerising band headed by Robin Pecknold.

Fleet Foxes – Shore

Fleet Foxes - Shore Limited Vinyl LP Anti Records VMP Blue Red Clay
  1. Wading in Waist-High Water
  2. Sunblind
  3. Can I Believe You
  4. Jara
  5. Featherweight
  6. A Long Way Past the Past
  7. For a Week or Two
  8. Maestranza
  9. Young Man’s Game
  10. I’m Not My Season
  11. Quiet Air/Gioia
  12. Going-to-the-Sun-Road
  13. Thymia
  14. Cradling Mother, Cradling Woman
  15. Shore

Wading in Wasit-High Water

“And I love you so violent, More than maybe I can do”

“This is just going to be more of what I want it to be if someone else sings it.’ And that’s been an awesome mindset to be in lately, just thinking more about writing for other voices and what other voices can naturally evoke without just trying to make my voice do a ton of different things to get to an emotional resonance” – Robin Pecknold

An ethereal blessing, the introduction to Shore is incredible. Uwade Akhare adds an absolutely stunning voice to the song which Pecknold acknowledges would be more impactful than what he felt he could give the track. This gamble paid off through a flawless track making us yearn for the album to come. Now we have an up-and-coming voice to look out for with Akhare.

Can I Believe You

“Never get this close
I’ve been wounded before”

There’s this big hug of vocals around the lead vocal that’s talking about trust or believability – Pecknold

Can you believe someone for face value? can you trust that person with your heart? The song quotes, “learning the ropes” suggestive of learning about a new love or person in life and never getting close for fear of being hurt because let’s face it – we’ve all been hurt before.

A beautiful song covering those uncertainties we all share at the prospect of a new love – am I good enough? am I letting my guard down? am I worthy/are they worthy of my love?

Featherweight

“And with love and hate in the balance
One last way past the malice
One warm day is all I really need”

I feel like it’s kind of examining privilege a little bit more. This period of time accommodated that in a very real way for me, just making my problems seem smaller. Acknowledging that I’ve made problems for myself sometimes in my life when there weren’t really any. Pecknold

Featherweight is an incredibly beautiful song. I don’t know how but it really sums up 2020 as a year. Tumultuous and unpredictable but suggests that Love and Hate are in the balance (many meanings to this I will not suggest), and that this feeling can and should be overcome with a breath of fresh air “Someone or something that is new and different and makes everything seem more exciting“- albeit understanding this is dependent on how the listener chooses their fresh air.

Do I lean towards new love and the unsure nature it might have or do I fall back on old love with its well trodden path?

A Long Way Past The Past

“And I can’t let go
Of a lot I’ve left
I’m holding nothing
But what I kept
And it all got dimmer
Each passing step
And I need you with me
And you read the writ
Are you now insisting
Is it not worth it?
But I’ve got no option
I inherited this and I’m overcome”

While I was writing the lyrics to it, I was thinking, ‘How much am I living in the past? How much can I leave that behind? How much of my identity is wrapped up in memories?’ Pecknold

Young Man’s Game

“I’ve been lucky as sin
Not one thing in my way
Just the arena I was in
But it’s a young man’s game”

Shore

“Kin of my kin
I rely on you
Taking me in
When a wave runs me through
As a shore I ever seem to sail to
And I know old heavinesses shake you”

Final Notes

An incredibly beautiful album, too detailed and immense to articulate succinctly in a simple music blog. I cannot wait to watch Fleet Foxes again in Sydney – who knows when? but I hope it is only at the most fitting stages – that being Sydney Opera House – a music hall that was built to host the most magnificent acts such as Fleet Foxes.

Finishing words from the genius, Robin Pecknold

“I wanted the album to exist in a liminal space outside of time, inhabiting both the future and the past, accessing something spiritual or personal that is untouchable by whatever the state of the world may be at a given moment, whatever our season.”

About the album

Pecknold began writing Shore in September 2018, immediately after touring Crack-Up. He wanted to find a “new, brighter way” of writing songs.

Collaborations with:

  • Uwade Akhere – vocals (tracks 1, 3, 15)
  • The Westerlies
    • Riley Mulherkar – trumpet (tracks 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15)
    • Chloe Rowlands – trumpet (tracks 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15)
    • Andy Clausen – trombone (tracks 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15)
    • Willem de Koch – trombone (tracks 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15)
  • Joshua Jaeger – drum-kit (tracks 2, 6, 11 15), percussion (tracks 2, 6, 11 15)
  • Marta Sofia Honer – violin (track 14), viola (track 14)
  • Michael Bloch – classical guitar (track 5)
  • Christopher Bear – drum-kit (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 15), percussion (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 15)
  • Daniel Rossen – electric guitar (track 14), acoustic guitar (track 14), piano (track 14)
  • Homer Steinweiss – drum-kit (tracks 2, 4, 8, 9)
  • Kevin Morby – vocals (track 2)[1]
  • Meara O’Reilly – vocals (tracks 4, 6, 14, 15), vocal arrangements (tracks 4, 6, 14, 15)
  • Tim Bernardes – vocals (track 12)
  • Georgiana Leithauser – vocals (tracks 1, 9)
  • Frederika Leithauser – vocals (tracks 1, 9)
  • Juliet Butters – vocals (tracks 1, 9)
  • Faye Butters – vocals (tracks 1, 9)
  • Beatriz Artola – spoken 

Produced by Robin Pecknold

Engineered & Mixed by Beatriz Artola

Released September 22, 2020

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