Listening to the third Fleet Foxes album—the first from the band in six years—it’s nearly possible to forget James Comey and Kim Jung-un even exist. Like much of folk music, Crack-Up conjures a less complicated time and place, but more than most—including Fleet Foxes previous bucolic full-lengths—it feels like this was specifically crafted to provide escape from the exasperating world around us.
“I am all that I need,” leader Robin Pecknold speak-sings to kick off a three-part opening track, and that spirit of simplification carries through the pretty, peaceful journey that follows. Pecknold’s ultra-pure voice leads the way, piercing through dizzyingly composed yet directly presented numbers like “Third of May/Ōdaigahara” and “Fool’s Errand.” His organic instrument sounds even better at the center of the group’s swelling harmonies, as when the Foxes incrementally adjust their inflection throughout “If You Need to, Keep Time on Me” to build an uplifting anthem upon basic repetition. By the time Pecknold closes out the record-capping title track with the words “All I see/Dividing tides rising over me,” it feels like an invitation to press play again and stay in his safe place.