AL­BUM OF THE WEEK

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE -

It’s been six years since Seat­tle’s finest last re­leased an al­bum — a long wait for those want­ing a third bite of the cherry from a band re­spon­si­ble for a pair of sub­lime long play­ers. Crack-Up, whose ti­tle is in­spired by an F Scott Fitzger­ald col­lec­tion of es­says, is not an easy lis­ten. Its densely ar­ranged songs, clash of mu­si­cal styles and knotty, some­what ar­cane lyrics make it an al­bum you’ve to work at to ap­pre­ci­ate — cer­tainly more so than the won­drous Fleet Foxes or even the anx­i­etyrid­den Help­less­ness Blues. But sev­eral as­pects of the Fleet Foxes blue­print re­main in­tact in­clud­ing those glo­ri­ous har­monies and a world-view that seems rooted in an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the here and now. It’s dif­fi­cult not to lis­ten to their gor­geously honed cham­ber folk mu­sic and not be moved: there’s an emo­tional heart to all their work and that’s the case here. While it’s true that the al­bum lacks stand-out songs in the vein of ‘White Win­ter Hym­nal’, the over­all ef­fect is hyp­notic and the com­po­si­tions that take their time to res­onate don’t fail to leave a mark. ‘Cas­sius’ is par­tic­u­larly en­gag­ing as Robin Pec­knold sings about both the vi­o­lent deaths of young black men and the late Muham­mad Ali. His songs are both in­tro­spec­tive and out­ward­look­ing and al­though there’s an air of un­ease through­out, there’s op­ti­mism, too.

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