The Seattle band's new song is the nine-minute "Third of May / Ōdaigahara."
It’s been six years since Seattle’s Fleet Foxes released a new album, the last time was May 3, 2011, when the band dropped “Helplessness Blues,” its second full-length and last for Seattle label Sub Pop.
Fans of the band might have wondered if they would ever be back, but on Tuesday, March 7, the band released “Third of May / Ōdaigahara” the first new single from the upcoming album, “Crack-Up,” scheduled for release June 16 on Nonesuch Records.
Clocking in at nearly nine minutes, the song is the band’s most experimental to date and lyrically it addresses the relationship of founding members Robin Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset, who met while attending Lake Washington High School in Kirkland and bonded over their appreciation of Bob Dylan and Brian Wilson. May 3 is also Skjelset’s birthday.
Peckold, who wrote all 11 tracks on the album, sings:
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“Now, back in our town as a castaway
I’m reminded of the time it all fell in line, on the third of May
As if it were designed, painted in sand to be washed away
Aren’t we made to be crowded together, like leaves?
Second son, on the other line…”
While other band members have left or gone on to success with solo projects (Father John Misty), Pecknold and Skjelset have remained and endured through the success (the band was nominated for a Grammy in 2012) and the stress and demands that came with it. Pecknold put the band on hold in 2014 to attend Columbia University in New York, and many fans wondered if Fleet Foxes would be back. In 2016, while answering fans questions on Instagram, Pecknold revealed he was working on new material.
Fleet Foxes has announced a 16-date world tour (no Seattle date yet) including stops at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, California, and Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.