Music Review: Fleet Foxes Sun Giant EP

Ampersand DailyMusic

I realize my interpretations are not going to match that of the creators or of every body out there, hell maybe not anyone out there. But that’s not what this is all about. I am doing this because I love art and inspiration and blogging. This is not intended to insult anyone or ruin anybody’s day out there so please, if you feel I have insulted you in any way through my interpretations please let me know as kindly as you can conceive how I might change the way I’m looking at a song or film or even just a piece of art work. This is about being open and communicating well with others in a positive manner. Not personal agenda’s.

To begin I think I need to start talking about the history behind the albums I’m reviewing a little bit at the front of these post. For this I will also provide a link to Wikipedia so you can check out additional information in your own time. With these first post on this subject I am looking to provide a good review, but also develop my ideas into a more organized a professionally done blog through the feedback I get from readers. Please take time to comment as I will be soaking in suggestions and perhaps using those ideas to present a better article for the readers of this WordPress.

For further information regarding this album, please visit.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Giant

I will provide the track name, number, length, and a link to the lyrics for each song followed by my review of each song.

My favorite site for looking up song lyrics is  http://www.songmeanings.net/  If at all possible I will use their site almost exclusively.

Also, I recommend using Spotify to listen to these songs as you read through the review.                                                                                            https://www.spotify.com/us/for-music/

 If you do not want to use Spotify visit YouTube and look for the songs on there. 

http://www.youtube.com/

Let’s begin the review of Fleet Foxes Sun Giant EP shall we?

Album Art
Album Art

http://www.fleetfoxes.com

(Please support the band if you enjoyed the album by visiting their website and getting an album!)

Released on April 8th, 2008 by Bella Union and Sub Pop Records, this album made quite a big noise in the indie scene. The very first song I ever heard by Fleet Foxes is a song off this very album entitled Mykonos. I thought it was a tremendous effort and fantastic song, we’ll get more into it later, but coming from an Indie band I was hoping to find more variation in their other tunes. I searched for the album on Rhapsody at the time and found something I’ve never really heard before. This band is able to take rock and roll, folk, melodic singing, and perhaps even some old-fashioned country inspiration and create these wonderful pieces of music that aim to reach deep into your being and beg you to be a happier person by facing difficult situations with an honest approach. That’s not to say some of these songs don’t also bring up some challenging ideas and questions, for the most part I hear the desire to be happy being expressed through most of Fleet Foxes music.

The album begins…..

1. Sun Giant 2:14 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858714448/<<<<Lyrics

A deep breath and the journey begins with a melodic vocal performance by all members of the band. The song itself makes me think of waking up on an early morning day with nothing to do but lay there in the sunlight coming through the window and ponder life in general. I literally feel like I could yawn and stretch and just lay there lazily all day with a big smile on my face when I hear this song. Not out of boredom, but appreciation for the simple things in life that let us know we’re alive and well.

There is a small instrumental from what I believe is a mandolin. Serving more as an outro than it is supplementing the vocals. The humming of the vocalist underneath the soothing melody from the mandolin does well as it fades gracefully in to the next song.

2. Drops in The River 4:13 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858724467/ <<Lyrics

I hear a lot going on in this beautiful and sometimes sad song. It begins with a sound from an instrument that I’m not entirely sure of. It reminds me of a Sitar, but don’t quote me on that. Robin Pecknold’s vocal talent comes out in fully display to be absorbed by anyone who may be near. From his voice, I can tell he feels every single word that his vocal chords generate, and with that understanding I hang on every single word I hear. The musical accompaniment blends folk and a bit of rhythm and blues, perhaps a little more rock and roll at times. Either way, it is done masterfully and with grace.

Here we’re presented with another song about heartbreak, this kind of story is so intriguing to me because of how timeless it is. Since the beginning of the concept of love and commitment to another has brought with it certain feelings. When put to song, it can be extremely corny if not executed correctly. Rick Astley’s  Never Gonna Give You Up comes to mind. While I’m sure some can appreciate that song, for me hearing the 1000’s of alternatives to that song have convinced me that some artist have a much better understanding of the emotions that come with loving another. This song dives right in unlike so many songs into realms perhaps unexplored by others.

There is a certain level of objectivity one must take on when reading the lyrics to this song, which is why it is such an effective song to begin with. Anyone who’s ever felt anything close to the feelings being expressed here is going to relate to this tune for the simple face that it’s such a classic story told in a very unique yet very broad way as to say “you know what I mean don’t you?” I love that! I totally know what he means in the song when he sings ” You hesitate so my memory fade, I’ll hold to the first one. I wouldn’t turn to another you say, on the long night we’ve made. Let it go.” This is my favorite part of the song because it’s that moment where you face the reality of the situation and have to be honest with yourself and the person you love. Things were wonderful at one time, let’s leave it that way before we hurt one another and let too much time pass before we realize we’ve wasted each others precious time.

3. English House 4:41 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858729044/ <<<Lyrics

As the door opens for this song to begin, I get the feeling that I should take off my shoes and go running through the wilds of the world. Soak in all the sun I can, live free of restraint, and find as many friends to enjoy my time with as possible. It opens with a pleasant acoustic guitar melody and a vocalization of “Doo Doo Dootley Doo” and blended in is a simple yet needed electric guitar diddy, brings a smile to my face every time. When the music finally spills over, the drums sound as if Native Americans are doing a dance under the layers of acoustic guitar, mandolin, and electric guitar. Again, the vocal talents of the lead singer are on full display, as they should be, and often are.

To me this song represents a lot. We’re presented another love interest, but I hear so much more than that being expressed through the music. It feels like a grand adventure through unknown lands full of completes strangers. Barely can you sense the danger in such a place as the overwhelming beauty of the place takes you back to your love only to say “stay close to me and hold my hand, this is a lot to take in.” You hear brief warnings of lurking danger underneath the layers of beautiful and graceful folk music. Almost as if the song begs you to stop worrying so much, yet the lyrics are holding on to the reality of the situation.

I really like the section of the song where he can only say “Woah my love, whoa my love, woah.” As if to express how amazing everything seems to be. Sometimes in life, things can pass by so quickly that we barely notice it and once you do notice it can cause you to have a knee-jerk reaction where you simply need someone to hold on to while you gather yourself. You may be frightened and unaware and may say things that are unnecessary because often our personal fear of the world may have already been over come by the people we love, they understand though that you have just woken up to a new reality and are going to be there for you as you continue on your adventure together.  The lesson for me is to venture forth into the wild, hold on to your love and help them through rough times, and eventually you come across your own little place together. Just don’t be the liar featured in beginning of the song.

5. Mykonos 4:35 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858710271/ <<<Lyrics

This is the very first Fleet Foxes song I ever listened to. At the time I was going through a really tough separation from a dear and long-standing friend. The trouble with this song at that time was how much hope it gave me, despite the dark mood it presents. It begins simple enough with an acoustic guitar/drum kit intro. The vocals are haunting on top of the rock and roll inspired instrumentals. This is perhaps the most rock and roll of any of the songs on the album and I think it was done to give this song a darker edge. The really interesting part for me is how well executed all the vocal performances are done. The entire band pitches in to create some of the most haunting yet beautiful interpretive humming I’ve ever heard. On top of that, a top-notch rock song that progresses in intensity as the song moves along. I feel like this is song was inspired by Prog Rock from the 70’s blended with the alternative sounds of the early 90’s and a pinch of folk.

Friendship is the first thing that comes to mind when I listen to this song. I can clearly understand the pain that comes with squaring off with a friend over differences in opinion, politics, or just the general outlook’s you have about life. Sometimes, unfortunately this can lead to losing a friend, as in my case, because you can no longer get along with your dear friend, it is too painful to realize you cannot be yourself around them any longer. As sad as this song is for me, I clearly hear the triumph of what friendship really stands for. This song was written for friends to remind each other how precious it is to find another you can share your experiences with. I only wish I was wise enough to realize that at the time my friend and I had our falling out. I see the beauty in being able to let go of those closest to you and bidding them well wishes as you turn to face your life without them.

But perhaps that’s just how life works. Perhaps some things are better left alone and people are better off without you. Tough to accept isn’t it? That you are not who they wanted and you can never be what they want if you are being true to yourself. Perhaps I am better off doing what this song suggest at the end and bid my friend farewell and remind him that only every so often will you find a friend who will give as much as I did. Wishing only the best for my former friend and hope he comes to realize why I couldn’t go on at his side. To put it in a way others might understand, I felt like he could not open his heart and mind up to me in a meaningful way other than the hobbies we both shared an interest in. It began to feel shallow and forced, I realized it was over when I couldn’t bring myself to mention my feelings. If that is the case, then there was never a chance. I am still open to advice on this if anyone cares to share their experience with me.

5. Innocent Son 3:07 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858712502/ <<Lyrics

The beautifully sung vocals ring out immediately and deliberately from the onset of this very down trodden song. Not without reason, once you absorb the lyrics, you have to feel a level of compassion for the subject of this tune. A solemn guitar riff plays along with the vocals and leaves very little to the imagination, which is the point of this song. It’s meant to have you hanging on to every word and every note without distraction.

It seems as though this song is acting as the reaction to Mykonos. After having a falling out with a dear friend, the feeling of lonliness can be overwhelming. You can point fingers at each other all day over who did what, but at the end of the day, neither one of you is innocent or without some responsibility for everything that’s happened. This song can be looked at in different ways, from either the perspective of the friend who chose to leave or from the perspective of the person who was left behind. Either way, the points from either side are valid because it is tragic on both sides.

I feel as though this song is coming from the person who was left behind however, because of the lyrics “Some twisted thorn tells me you saw me in the night with another. Keep all my promises to break them I am no, oh no, innocent son. You run, rabbit run.” As if to say they are beginning to accept reality without their friend. Perhaps in a frustrated manner, but at least honest enough to say go and don’t look back. Letting go of the one’s you love sometimes is the only way you can prove to them how much you do love them. I think this song exemplifies that notion.

In conclusion……

This is a short EP, so don’t expect a grand album that’s indicative of Fleet Foxes entire library. Instead, you are given a very scrumptious taste of what they have in store for new listeners. As a whole, this album takes you many different places in just a short amount of time with the masterful vocal performance by Robin Pecknhold. Not to downplay the musicianship of the rest of the band, but for me the highlight is the vocals and lyrics. Singer songwriters should appreciate this album or any fan of folk art or even perhaps some rock and roll enthusiast who don’t mind taking the excitement down a few notches. Fleet Foxes are masterful at blending different genres of music together and creating beautiful harmonies which entice the listener to hang on to everything being presented to them. I recommend this album to all ages and walks of life.

One last thought, this album holds a special place in my heart as it helped me get through a tremendously tough time in my life. I am willing to share this with my readers because I don’t want to just do a technical review of these songs both because I lack the knowledge to give an in depth musical theory review of any piece of music and because the focus of these reviews are to give my interpretations of the songs in a more subjective manner. In other words, I want to share and communicate with others about their feelings and life experiences so that I and others may grow from these stories. If you enjoy these post as much as I enjoy listening to and reviewing these albums, please subscribe, comment, and share so we can grow a little section of the internet.

Thank you for your time!

Scott D. Vogler

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