For many, the pandemic (and its subsequent lockdown) hasn’t been quite the creative boom it was for Shakespeare. That was true, too, for Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold—until it wasn’t. The singer and songwriter was sitting on a batch of instrumentals when the Bad Germ swept across the world, struggling to find the words to accompany them. “It was this extra albatross,” he told Rolling Stone. “It was unclear if I would just abandon it, or if it was going to come out in 2022, or what.”
When summer arrived, however, a creative resurgence came with it. An aimless drive around the Catskills helped him reflect and, eventually, find a lyrical perspective. “I ended up having three months to just reflect and notice the world changing and be horrified and then encouraged by so much social awareness and class consciousness and all of this stuff that was kind of all of these,” he told Apple Music. “I think all of that stuff made its way into the lyrics and gave me stuff to write about or think about that when before it was just I just got to get this thing out there regardless of what the ideas are.”
The result is the 15-track Shore, which, in celebration of the autumn equinox, is available today.
The lyrics also served to celebrate a number of his musical heroes, from the late John Prine to Arthur Russell, Nina Simone, and Brian Wilson, the last of whom is featured in a sample from the Pet Sounds Sessions boxset. “The whole experience gave me so much additional perspective on what community means, what death means, what gratitude means, what privilege is,” he told Rolling Stone. “This is my least personal album. I wanted it to be mostly about how I felt about other people.”
You can stream Shore via Spotify or Apple Music below.
A 16mm short film from Kersti Jan Werdal highlighting landscapes of the Pacific Northwest to the tune of Shore can be viewed below.