Jon Greenland takes a look at Fleet Foxes sophomore album Helplessness Blues

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With the release of Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes stick to a winning formula of intricate vocals, haunting harmonies and general folky-pleasantness. The lead single Helplessness Blues plays upon the strengths of the vocal sounds of Robin Pecknold but is coupled with a somewhat broader, fuller sound which could be said of the majority of the songs on the new record. This fuller sound comes as a result of a wider variety of instruments used such as the mandolin, particularly on the sublime instrumental “Cascades”, to the extent that much of the record echoes some of Led Zeppelin’s folkier work, which is no bad thing.

The album starts with the dreamlike Montezuma, going on to the stronger fiddle fused- groove of Bedouin Dress – an album highlight. Importantly, amongst the other sounds the vocal prowess of the record remains intact, and the articulate lyricism will certainly merit multiple listening.

Despite the apparent difficultly of recording, the result is a more polished, complex and thus interesting album than their much loved self titled debut of 2008. Helplessness blues is a perfect record of baroque-pop for the approaching summer… definitely worth a listen. 

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