AOTY 2023
Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up
Critic Score
Based on 41 reviews
2017 Ratings: #103 / 933
Year End Rank: #28
User Score
2017 Ratings: #42
Liked by 145 people
June 16, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Nonesuch / Label
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The Young Folks

Pecknold and the Fleet Foxes made sure that a project like this was done to perfection.  Quietly, they are still innovating.  Everything about this record is dense and debatable.


The band has proven that neither their self-titled debut nor Helplessness Blues represent their ceiling.

Pretty Much Amazing
Hot take: their third record is their best, a meandering, wild, untamable masterpiece from a front man who refuses to stop studying and refuses to be predictable.

Though the merits of Crack-Up will most certainly prove divisive among Fleet Foxes’ devoted followers and music pundits alike, at least to these ears, angst, alienation and ambivalence have never sounded as sublime and soul-affirming as they do on their triumphant third.

Drowned in Sound

Crack-Up is perhaps Fleet Foxes' most epic and inventive record yet.


Crack-Up does not disappoint. In fact, it does the exact opposite.


With Crack-Up's earnest explorations of the human condition and evocative, progressive composition, Fleet Foxes maintain their status as one of the best folk rock bands of the 21st century.

The 405

More charming than ever before, Fleet Foxes' return with Crack-Up is a major step for the band, contriving a brand new era of divine melodies and break through compositions.


Crack-Up joins the ranks of albums like Homogenic, OK Computer and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot—works by eclectic, established artists who decided to push boundaries even further and subsequently produced masterpieces.


Put aside the inclination to strip it for singles, and Crack-Up’s generosity can feel bottomless. Rather than a show of contempt for the confines and craft of a three-minute pop song, Crack-Up is one of trust, applying its harmonic and textural gifts with the same free-flowing intuition as Joanna Newsom’s Ys or Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House.

‘Crack-Up’ is a work of too much depth to simply be declared the best – or otherwise – of their work, this early into its release upon the world, but it is blindingly clear that not only is ‘Crack-Up’ an album that stands as distinct as any of its predecessors but also sits comfortably in their brief but refined discography.
Under the Radar

That the album sounds like no one else is a high compliment—no one else comes close to touching Fleet Foxes in this type of music, and the moments the band creates on Crack-Up are some of the finest you'll find on any record this year.

Consequence of Sound

Challenging throughout and at times jarring and inscrutable, Crack-Up searches for a resolution just out of reach.

Entertainment Weekly

At eleven songs and nearly an hour long, the band’s latest work is both their most challenging and their most rewarding.


Fleet Foxes’ third album, Crack-Up, is at once sumptuous and ambitious, a serpentine journey from the center of harmony-drenched folk-pop out to the edge of Pecknold’s brain and back. It is lovely, strange and generous, and ultimately a very welcome return for the Seattle band.

The Needle Drop

Fleet Foxes triumphantly emerge from hiatus with their most progressive effort yet.

Record Collector

You might call it challenging, but Fleet Foxes were never likely to settle for anchoring comeback gestures of easy reassurance: rather, Crack-Up re-asserts their exalted tug on the heart by testing it at ever-greater distances from known shores.

The Observer

These 11 tracks are immersive, shifting creations, retaining the heavenly signature harmonies of FF’s previous work, while further expanding the band’s sound.

The Independent

Throughout this intensely poetic, introspective album, currents of guilt, regret and resolution battle in quiet turbulence, the group’s trademark harmonies and acoustic folk settings augmented with additional sonic strata.


Distinctive, involving, challenging, accessible, progressive and most other things that continue to be desirable in an indie-rock record, whatever the year.

‘Crack-Up’ is undoubtedly the sound of a band at the peak of their powers. Maybe more artists should relive their fresher days every once in a while.
FLOOD Magazine
This band does delicate beauty so well that the stand-out moments of “Crack-Up” tend to be the ones where they let their hair down a bit.
Q Magazine
It confirms that rarest of achievements: a group somehow hanging on to the essence who they are, while pushing their art into thrillingly unforeseen places.
The Line of Best Fit

Apply a bit of patience ... and this challenging, expectation-defying, flawed but ultimately rewarding record is likely to prove worth the effort.

For Fleet Foxes, it represents a shift away from their more idyllic early days into a period of artistic growth and sophistication.

What this album actually is, is the Fleet Foxes we already know but on a much, much bigger scale – and that’s all it needs to be.

Some may be unconvinced by the ambitious leap Fleet Foxes have made on album three, but there’s really no doubting the first-rate intelligence behind this uncompromising and ever-changing piece of work.

Despite the record's nebulous nature, there are are still a few great individual tracks that stand up on their own.

Spectrum Culture

Crack-Up is an important step for Pecknold if he is going to continue making music, but it may not end up being one of the most accessible albums in the Fleet Foxes oeuvre.


Crack-Up is a solid return after a long time off for Fleet Foxes, even if some of its loudest moments are overthought and confused. But those moments, though distracting, don’t totally blot out the finest songs here.

Northern Transmissions
With the album’s long duration and its penchant to wriggle from withdrawn to full-blooded, ‘Crack-Up’ loses some momentum by its eventual finale plus it can become a little predictable in its unpredictability – in that the record has those two settings – near silence and rampant folk. Although, ‘Crack-Up’ is an ambiguous record that will constantly reveal multiple surprises on repeated visits.
Loud and Quiet
Fleet Foxes’ distinctive, highly recognisable style remains on ‘Crack-Up’, but is sometimes deliberately fractured and broken up into a jarring, disjointed soundscape.
Slant Magazine

By otherwise masterfully navigating between dark and light, quiet and loud, sparse and lush, Crack-Up takes contrasting musical ideas and textures and makes them functional, if not transcendent. Ultimately, though, the album fails to shed much light on the mind of an artist more preoccupied with shrouding his songs in crashing waves, shadow, and smoke.

Rolling Stone
Their sound is still rooted in the lush, beardly harmonies and sky-bound strumming that made their first two LPs coffee-shop staples. But they've upped their prog ambitions – tracks wash together, song titles abound with opaque punctuation, and the sweeping melodies often wander into moody places, away from the safety of the campfire.
No Ripcord

This is – as many expected it would be – hugely accomplished in its composition, and while it’s not short of irritating periods of pretension, it’s par for the course when beauty, indulgence and complexity are key ingredients in the melting pot.


If Crack-Up falls short of perfection, it inspires hope that transcendence is waiting around the corner.

The Guardian
It is alternately beautiful, intriguing and quite irritating, as bands turning inward and indulgent are wont to be.

It’s a bizarre sensation: listening to something that’s clearly had a lot of time, love and attention poured into it, something obviously impressive in scale and ambition, made by artists admirably trying to push their sound forward – and it leaving you completely unmoved.

The Irish Times

Crack-Up is an altogether more ponderous record, with lyrics musing on life and a musical blueprint that diverges from what came before.

Evening Standard
Fleet Foxes’ third album probably won’t win any new fans, though true believers will continue to proclaim the band’s genius.
A.V. Club

The majority of the record is uniformly vanilla, too overwhelmed by lush strings and pastoral pleasantness to deliver a decent hook. It’s stunning in its orchestration, yet it fails to leave much of a mark beyond that overall prettiness.


This website almost made me forget what it was like to enjoy music tbh. Just briefly checking in on yall, not staying


𝑰 𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒃𝒖𝒕𝒆 𝒂 𝒃𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒘𝒆𝒆𝒕 𝒇𝒆𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒔𝒐 𝒖𝒏𝒔𝒆𝒆𝒏, 𝒂𝒔 𝒊𝒇 𝒊𝒏 𝒂 𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎.

"Crack-Up" is, by far, one of the most difficult albums I've ever listened to at this point. For whatever reason, upon more than 10 listens, I still couldn't even wrap my head around this record's complexities. Maybe there's a reason that I've avoided this for so long. Fleet ... read more


SHORT REVIEW: #11: 'Crack-Up' by Fleet Foxes

'Crack-Up' is a bizarre addition to the Fleet Foxes discography. It's not a complete shift in direction from 'Fleet Foxes' and 'Helplessness Blues', yet it brings new things to the table, such as progressive folk. With that and chamber folk, Fleet Foxes create an interesting blend of acoustic techniques and subversive soundscapes, made plainly evident by the opener "I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Saco / Thumbprint Scar". It also shows that ... read more


favorites: kept woman, third of may / odaigahara, on another ocean (january / june), fool's errand, I should see memphis, crack-up


Honestly my favorite Foxes record. Something about the way this ones comes together strikes me much more than their others


slow-moving but good

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Added on: March 7, 2017