ALBUM OF THE WEEK
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.