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Thread: Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

  1. #1
    Grumpy Old Man Music Head's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Lancaster, Kentucky, United States

    Default Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

    how about Mumford & Sons meets The National or Band Of Horses
    that's the best I can come up with
    not saying they are that good, just the sound
    borderline list

    Grade - 1.6

    released May 3rd, 2011

    from the album - Grown Ocean - 1.5

    from all music


    Seattle's Fleet Foxes are led by vocalist/guitarist Robin Pecknold, who fashioned his band's earthy, harmony-rich sound in honor of such perennial '60s artists as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, the Zombies, and the Beach Boys. Mixing baroque pop with elements of classic rock and British folk, the band took shape in 2006 as Pecknold was joined by guitarist Skyler Skjelset, bassist Bryn Lumsden, drummer Nicholas Peterson, and keyboardist Casey Wescott. After playing only a handful of shows, the band generated a healthy amount of label interest and caught the attention of local producer Phil Ek, who had previously helmed records by Built to Spill and the Shins. Ek worked with the band on its Sun Giant EP, which was issued by Sub Pop Records in spring 2008. Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut full-length followed that summer, earning them a healthy amount of critical respect in America as well as healthy sales in the U.K., where the band's debut went platinum. Helplessness Blues followed in 2011, marking the group's third collaboration with Phil Ek.

    Album Review

    Props to Helplessness Blues for making the fretless zither cool again. On their second album, Fleet Foxes continue to take their music in unusual directions, creating a baroque folk-pop sound that hints at a number of influences -- Simon & Garfunkel, Fairport Convention, the Beach Boys -- but is too unique, too esoteric, too damn weird to warrant any direct links between the Seattle boys and their predecessors. It’s still a downright gorgeous record, though, filled to the brim with glee club harmonies and the sort of stringed instruments that are virtually unknown to anyone who didn’t go to music school (and even if you did, when’s the last time you rocked out on the Marxophone?). Relying on obscure instrumentation can be a dangerous game, and Fleet Foxes occasionally run the risk of sounding too clever for their own good, as if the need to “out-folk” groups like Mumford & Sons and Midlake is more important than writing memorable, articulate folk tunes. But Helplessness Blues has the necessary songs to back it up, from the slow crescendos of the album-opening “Montezuma” to the sweeping orchestral arrangement of the encore number, “Grown Ocean.”

    Robin Pecknold remains the ringleader of this Celtic circus. His is the only voice to cut through the thick, lush harmonies that Fleet Foxes splash across every refrain like paint, and his lyrics -- rife with allusions to the Bible, Dante the Magician, and the poetry of W.B. Yeats -- reach beyond the territory he occupied on the band’s first record, which painted simple geographical portraits with songs like “Sun It Rises,” “Ragged Wood,” “Quiet Houses,” and “Blue Ridge Mountains.” On Helplessness Blues, he’s just as interested in the landscape of the human heart. Still, it’s the music that stands out, and the band’s acoustic folk/chamber pop combo makes every song sound like a grand tribute to back-to-the-land living.

    Track Listing

    1 Montezuma Pecknold 3:37
    2 Bedouin Dress Pecknold 4:29
    3 Sim Sala Bim Pecknold 3:14
    4 Battery Kinzie Pecknold 2:48
    5 The Plains/Bitter Dancer Pecknold 5:53
    6 Helplessness Blues Pecknold 5:03
    7 The Cascades Pecknold 2:07
    8 Lorelei Pecknold 4:24
    9 Someone You'd Admire Pecknold 2:29
    10 The Shrine/An Argument Pecknold 8:07
    11 Blue Spotted Tail Pecknold 3:05
    12 Grown Ocean Pecknold 4:36
    “A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”
    Will Rogers

  2. #2


    i got their last(debut) album, loved the harmonies immensely, but found the songs to be all too much of a muchness throughout, not a bad album though, somewhere around 1.7 ish. im gonna have to hear the new one in its entirety before i think about getting it though and your 1.6 rating does nothing to make me want to do it in the near future.

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