"Fleet Foxes have always been a band with a pitch and a tone which takes you up mountains and down valleys"
It's easy to forget how much greenery blankets this part of Dublin. The Building Ireland TV show about the building of the Marino estate and some gorgeous show-off drone shots reminded me just how green this Dublin 3 hood really is. It was also a good chance to snoop, swoop and scope out some backyards in the hood and realise what folks have done with their green patches.
Around 1,300 houses were built here in the 1920s and 1930s, a project influenced by Ebenezer Howards's garden city ideals about how to bring the advantages and benefits of the city and country together. A lot of those far-sighted ideals had to do with space, parks and greenery, houses with front and back doors, housing built with dignity in mind. Someone remarked on the Building Ireland show that city planners rarely went with that kind of plan again. You have to wonder why.
We’ve learned in 2020 much about what green space and nature and trees and wild skies does for our psyche. Every week, I come across a new study or research project about how access to green or blue space boosts our well-being. It makes sense, but it really makes sense when you buckle up and stride out with an album like Shore from Fleet Foxes on your ears.
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Robin Pecknold has talked about long drives in upstate New York to shake off the city during these quare times. He’s mentioned the nature documentary by Kersti Jan Werdal full of wild Washington landscapes and views which goes with the album. He’s even held forth on the timelessness and "sylvan quality" of pastoral music. The hints to the album’s green dimensions are all hiding in plain sight.
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When you get going, you can’t mistake the drift of Shore. This record is as rustic and green as the view out the window on Pecknold’s country drives or from the barely there paths off the Alfie Byrne Road. Fleet Foxes have always been a band with a pitch and a tone which takes you up mountains and down valleys. It’s folk music but not "folk music". An album for these hinge days where the slant of the songs aligns with the low cut of the sun at this time of year and the way it barely makes it over the treetops. Songs for swinging leaf kickers shuffling down the avenue.