Fitzgerald - Raised By Wolves (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Raised By Wolves (2005)


Fitzgerald's Raised By Wolves is a worthy mark of proof that the most directly clashing of genres can come together rather smoothly. Minneapolis-based couple Nathan and Mandy Tensen-Woolery compose indie folk with sprinkled bits of electro-pop, and while it isn't quite as compelling as some of their more notable indie-pop peers, never once does the effort come off as pretentious experimentation or chemically-imbalanced fusing.

Opener "How Far North?" proves that comparisons made to Iron & Wine are justified with the band's definite folk over (and under, for that matter) tones on the track, including the light use of a keyboard that would help exploit similarities to Mates Of State. Though Fitzgerald aren't quite as bouncy as MOS, spots like the aforementioned as well as its immediate follower "Rendered" keep it modestly sunny, while other tracks like "These Missing Hands/Limbs" favor more melancholic arrangements.

Though Mandy's vocals are really put front-and-center in "The Folds In Her Dress," expressing a very Jenny Lewis-like candor, the couple sings in harmony for a good portion of the record, and the production takes advantage of stereo separation for such overlapping. Its usage is not only appropriate, but allows the two to form identities for themselves. Adding to the individualism of the album as well is the number of instruments implemented by both members of Fitzgerald; while Mandy handles a Casiotone, Farfisa, and "broken Vibraphone," as noted in the tray card, Nathan uses traditional folk tools such as a banjo and cello, doing his part for the programming too with a laptop and melodica in tow.

Lyrically, the band is usually rather sweet and endearing, penning simple lines like "If you see her, please tell her that I love her," while at other times they're forthrightly bizzarre, and without explanation; "Bloody Stumps" contains the melodically sung chorus "I think you should cut your hands off / Wave your bloody stumps around," continuously singing "Blo-oo-ody stumps..." in a strangely genuine manner. The track is obviously one of exaggerated relationship tension, but it comes off a bit medicated, the real underlying problems hinted at by the lyrics failing to really shine through in its overall feel.

Still, Raised By Wolves is a fine indie folk effort from Fitzgerald, mixing in pop dashes and appropriate use of electronic programming, never to the point of overbearingness or monstrous hybridism, and really manages to convey a world-weary sound that could only come from the Midwest. While 2024 is certainly a good fit for them, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see them end up on someone like Sub-Pop in the near future.

How Far North?
The Alligator Wrestler
The Folds In Her Dress