When the title track from the Fleet Foxes’ upcoming Helplessness Blues hit the Internet a little over a month ago it had the folk-gospel fingerprints of Bridge Over Troubled Water all over it. Newest single “Battery Kinzie” takes the Simon and Garfunkel sound to even higher ground, channeling the legendary duo’s wistful bounce, wide-eyed sense of melody, and all-around springtime glow like only a band as ambitious as Fleet Foxes can.
Punctuated by a one-two march of regal timpani strikes, “Battery Kinzie” is saturated with bright piano, jangly acoustic guitar and, of course, the Foxes’ towering harmonies. Pecknold’s pitch-perfect pipes dominate the track, as they should.
Say what you want about the Foxes’ music — yes, it’s pretty derivative — but one thing’s for certain: Dude’s got one of the purest, highest-soaring voices this side of Jim James. When Pecknold sings, “Do not wander / Through the dawn,” it’s not a warning, it’s a proclamation — a celebration of lyrics that might look too pretentious or esoteric on paper fully blossoming once they hit the reels. You see, it’s all in the delivery. And even though the guy’s going to evoke Tolkien and forest imagery until the Rapture, at the end of the day you’re probably going to end up singing about frozen ponds and ragged woods right along with him.