Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fleet Foxes @ Roundhouse, 24/2/2009

Off to the Roundhouse for the Fleet Foxes, with support from The Acorn.

Dear reader, I confess we were more than a bit bored: The Acorn's album Glory Hope Mountain, which is very much cut from the same cloth as Fleet Foxes and which seemed so rich and strange just a month or two ago, sounded... kinda dull, even though they played it pretty much note for note. The vocal melodies all seem to twist in the same melodic directions and, while they have wistful shapes, they fail to snag on the heart or mind. Not being able to hear the lyrics doesn't help. Meanwhile, tempos don't vary, choruses don't happen, and dozing keeps seeming the most productive option.

As for the Fleet Foxes, I couldn't help but thinking that this was just about the whitest gig I've ever been too, with the whitest music. You can get off, if that's your thing, on their richly stacked harmonies. But there's no propulsion or funk. No-one moves so much as a muscle. It's utterly sexless music. Now, only a lunatic goes to see Fleet Foxes expecting to get down. But it sure seemed a bit strange that the crowd were most animated during the between-song banter.  The preserved-in-aspic aspect of the music is only emphasised with acoustic covers of folk 'classics' from 1972. Get thee away from me, Mr Sandman, I don't want to sleep this early.

The music they play comes way too easily to these musicians, and that ultimately has a lulling affect, one reason why I find the album difficult to listen to in one go. You yearn for something to cut to the quick, to stop your heart. The only song we could remember immediately upon leaving was "Mykonos". Compare and contrast Bon Iver at the Empire some months back. Ostensibly similar (they all sit down to play their instruments, for heaven's sake), their songs sounded handed down from heaven, and at a price.

Still, chief Fox Robin Pecknold is only, like, 22, and this is only their first album, so I expect we'll get something amazing in due course. Hey, here's a suggestion: if Bon Iver can be influenced by D'Angelo, maybe FF can get themselves some soul of their own. Jamiroquai maybe?


MisterBarrington said...

Jeez, that's a shame. I had an instant love of that ablum which has admittedly dwindled - haven't given it a spin in donkey's.
But surely:
I was following the pack
all swallowed in their coats
with scarves of red tied ’round their throats
to keep their little heads
from falling in the snow
And I turned round and there you go


shana h said...

Have to second that (lack of) emotion... It was just very bland and uninspiring.

One heckler did yell out to the main Fox, asking him if he was going solo (highlight of the evening). So as L suggests, maybe not a bad idea.

Also didn't help that the average age in our general area was surely pushing 50....