Fleet Foxes Helplessness
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Fleet Foxes Helplessness. Helplessness Blues is comparatively deeper, more intricate, and more complex, a triumphant follow-up to a blockbuster debut. Working again with producer Phil Ek, they've crafted a cavernous record that allows more room for them to breathe and stretch. The album's longer, episodic cuts contain disquieting shifts in tone. "The Plains/Bitter Dancer", for example, begins as a spindly, psychedelic folk tune reminiscent of some of the Zombies' more introspective moments, and then, after a brief pause, bursts suddenly into the type of gangland chorus Fleet Foxes have practically trademarked by now. Elsewhere, shorter songs seem to end mid-thought; the rollicking tumble of "Battery Kinzie" cuts off suddenly, while "Sim Sala Bim"'s heavy-strummed raga quickly unfurls like broken strings. This battle between tension and serenity is new to the band's repertoire, and it lends the album a compelling uneasiness that starkly contrasts the sunnier disposition of their first two releases. by Larry Fitzmaurice
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.
AllMusic Review by Andrew LeaheyFleet Foxes Helplessness
Comparatively deeper, more intricate, and more complex
Disquieting shifts in tone