There are very few bands that are able to get such high accolades and recognition with their first album. American debuters Fleet Foxes have done just that. And for once, the praises are completely worthy.

Their self-titled first album is simply that: an instant classic. Perfect songs, beautifully sung, exquisitely performed and lovingly produced. I wonder if they already feel the pressure of the dreaded sophomore album syndrome. I honestly hope not because I can only see them going even bigger from here, actually. Debut single, White Winter Hymnal is one of the most bizarre first singles ever released: barely 2 1/2 minutes long, almost no instrumentation whatsoever, big vocal harmonies and a sound that is everything but hip. Yet it worked wonders and still sounds great after many listenings. Brave little bastards, they are.

The rest of the album continues the trend: not a dud in sight, and although the influences are reasonably obvious (Neil Young, Bob Dylan, etc.), their sound is unique and distinctive. I leave you with the album opener proper: Sun It Rises.

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