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Helplessness Blues

Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues

  • Fleet Foxes
  • Folk
  • Out now
  • Subpop
  • everywhere
reviewed by
Hannah Cooper
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Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues

in charm and a little mysterious by nature, it’s no wonder that these folk-loving
boys are based in Seattle, Washington.

debut full-length album Fleet Foxes
and second EP Sun Giant were both
raving successes, where critics and non critics alike hailed the band for their
cultivated lyrics and soulful harmonies.

Released on
May 3rd 2011, Helpnessness Blues has a newfound,
layered substance that is rather addictive. Considering the amount of their tour
stops that are already sold out, there’s a substantial amount of fans drenched
in anticipation and waiting to get a taste of the Foxes’ latest release.

We can’t
say that we blame them either. Inspired by the psychedelic folk album Stormcock by Roy Harper,
the Foxes recorded their latest album in over ten different locations. The
album is gracefully cohesive, as the tracks softly melt into one another,
but not without change and an exchange in moods.

Warm and
playful, the ballad ‘Bedouin’s Dress’ takes us on a retrospective journey while
front man Robin Pecknold waxes poetic about his past. Shortly after the song’s
first minute, the addition of the mandolin to the already joyous violin and
echoing vocals passionately promotes free-flowing movement and happiness.

The title track is, measure by measure,
astounding in array. Cutting the album through the middle with a beautifully
serrated knife is ‘Helplessness Blues’. Cynically mimicking the ebb and flow of
existential count, lyrics that would otherwise be cheaply rhyming are turned
into a sincere proclaim with Pecknold’s powerful sound; delicately paired with
a sweeping upbeat and a bridge that haunts the remainder of the track.

The track
delicately leads into the bold yet whimsical ‘The Cascades’, furthering down a
trail of poppy, baroque delight with gentleman-like gestures of folk. Then the listener is sent into a melancholic, nostalgic fix with ‘Lorelai’, as the sunny nature
brought on by the Foxes’ smoothness is not in any way left behind.

Wrapping up
this full-on sonic adventure is the ‘Grown Ocean’, for which the Foxes have
also created a collage music video, found here. It’s effervescent, sweet, and nearing

Fleet Foxes
have stretched themselves not only musically but also personally, growing into
a sonorous sound and lyrical ability that is a philosophical treat for the ear.
Don’t miss the album cover either; it’s aesthetically hot in its own right.

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