Fleet Foxes play Florida Theatre, Jacksonville.Tuesday, September 20th with The Walkmen.
Sub Pop & Bella Union Records
July 16, 2011
Fleet Foxes second release, ‘Helplessness Blues’ contributes as much passion and emotion as the first offering; the album gives insight to how the band have dealt with their success and matured through the last few years. The opening track ‘Montezuma’ offers droning acoustic guitars and choir-like harmonization with lyrics such as ‘Now I am older, Than my mother and father, when they had their daughter / Now what does that say about me?’ You can clearly hear the bands musical influences throughout, especially in ‘Sim Sala Bim’, which features light reverberated vocals, instruments like the harp and the violin and strummed acoustic guitars – sounding like anything from Led Zeppelin III (minus “Immigrant Song”).
‘Helplessness Blues’ is nothing short of beauty
There is also a much more personal approach to Pecknold’s lyrics, the title track ‘Helplessness Blues’ takes the listener from Pecknold’s previous perspectives – ‘I was raised up believing, I was somewhat unique’ to him growing up and just wanting to live a normal life – ‘And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be a functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me.’ Tracks like ‘Blue Spotted Tail’ give the listener a view of Pecknold’s perspective on life and it is known that he has had experiences with social anxiety before. In an interview in 2008 he stated “I don’t really hang out with anyone. I’ll hang out with my band, because I love them, but I don’t have any friends aside from that.’”
It took a few listens, but I do love this album, it offers a variety of emotions to the listener and followers of Fleet Foxes will not be disappointed with this release. Songs like ‘Grown Ocean’ and ‘The Shrine / An Argument’ show proof of the bands freedom, writing 8 minute songs that in one listen can sound like 4 separate ones. From the 6 minute 30 second mark we have violins and discombobulated trombones and trumpets that could be compared to Sgt Peppers – a fascinating listen that I would highly recommend.
‘Helplessness Blues’ is nothing short of beauty, anyone who likes a little bit of folk in their music collection needs to get this album. This by no means will earn mass appeal, but that’s how the Fleet Foxes want it. ‘Helplessness Blues’ is a generous and alluring offering for the more mature music lover and it will not disappoint.