On the 12th May, Fleet Foxes released ‘Fool’s Errand’. Listen, and watch the hypnotic video below.
The verse reeks (beautifully) of their signature folk style, with a hint of 60’s rock and roll: staccato rhythmic guitar strums and a monotonous drum beat accompany minor harmonies, giving a whiff of the Kinks with a sinister undertone. Unsurprisingly, when the sound is muted the video looks simply ridiculous. When combined with the lyrically impressive Robin Pecknold, it is a masterpiece. A jet black robed woman on a pebble beach creates a sense of unease through her tortured expression and her straining hands grope the air as if longing to escape from her body.
The harmonies build, the regimented rhythm and tight chord structure break out of their chains as the chorus washes in. “It was a fool’s errand, waiting for a sign” is belted out, softened by strings and enveloped in a pulsating guitar rhythm.
The ecstasy of the chorus falls back into the marching verse with the lyric “Life will repeat”. A stony stare from the lady in black.
Following the final chorus the video gives context to the lyrics. On transforming into a wolf and gazing into the woods there are parallels with ‘Call Of the Wild’ by Jack London. It could be implied that our primordial roots are so subdued by modern society that, if viewed objectively, everything we do is ‘a fool’s errand’. We are caught up with our day to day lives so much that we are blind to our natural surroundings and instincts.
London puts it perfectly: “Especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called — called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.”