How do I begin to explain just how Fleet Foxes make me feel? How can I convey just how perfect this band is? How can I show you that they take me somewhere higher whenever I press play on any of their songs? The self-titled debut album, released in 2008, received constant rotation for the next few months and even now elicits great memories when I go back to it. Fleet Foxes return with that cliched difficult second album at the start of May. Singer Robin Pecknold lost a relationship because of his commitment to the record. The band rerecorded it at least once, a collective decision due to the fact they believed they could do much better.

We already heard ‘Helplessness Blues’, the song, at the end of January, while Zane Lowe gave us a listen to ‘Battery Kinzie’. And now ‘Bedouin Dress’ arrives, via Stereogum. When the band played Dublin’s Vicar Street for the second year in succession in 2009, they played an early version of the song, which I captured below. And there was not too many changes, despite the two year wait. The spindly guitar line is there, though not on guitar. The chorus is still the same. The interlude remains largely untouched. But oh, the recorded version is just musical bliss. “I have borrowed all my lonesome life,” Robin sings. “It’s the only regret of my youth.” Is it a railing against the “all of the sirens” of modern life, “driving me over the bend”? Just listen for yourself. It is a sumptuous preview of the album.

On that Stereogum post, Robin himself commented: “Personally the goal was to be a little more reverent of certain folk influences, rather than perverting them by putting them in too much of a pop context, or making them sound slick, which is how I sort of feel about the first record now … And there’s a lot of stuff on the record that isn’t like these songs at all. The Simon & Garfunkel comparisons are interesting to me because the only bands I had in mind when making the record were the bands I DIDN’T want it to sound like (stuff we got compared to last time)! Never thought about what it DID.”


Fleet Foxes – ‘Bedouin Dress’