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Album Review: “Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes

Posted by Samantha Hatfield on 05/20 at 08:34 AM

When I listen to Fleet Foxes, I imagine myself lying on the forest floor of a lush green forest staring up through the leaves as the sunlight filters down and warms my whole body.  The sounds of Fleet Foxes’ original self-titled album and the Sun Giant EP are earthy.  Their early music has a warmth that radiates through every chord, every chorus.

Portland-based band Fleet Foxes has recently released their second studio album, Helplessness Blues.  Naturally, I expected to hit play and immediately be transported to my tranquil forest utopia. But within the confines of the 12-track album is something different.  The Fleet Foxes were taking me somewhere new.

It began like a sunrise, with “Montezuma.”  In true Fleet Foxes fashion their music is based heavily on the use of their voices in a complex weave of harmony.  With this opening track, the feeling is crisp and cool, like grass covered with morning dew.  “Bedouin Dress” brings the listener into the day with an upbeat composition that has stunning acoustic guitar all throughout.

With each progressive track in the album, the listener is taken deeper and deeper into the crisp, rural world that the Fleet Foxes populate with their soothing folk tracks.  One of the strongest tracks on the album is the title track, “Helplessness Blues.”  It draws you in with its thoughtful lyric and brought me back to what I originally loved about the band: upbeat folk ballads.  Halfway through the track, the song transforms and speaks of the longing to live a simple life in the country.  These transformations within a single song occur frequently throughout the album.  It gives the feeling that there are many stories to be told in a relatively short amount of time.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, the lead singer Robin Pecknold revealed that the band wanted to record the album quickly allowing any imperfections to remain within the music.  They felt that by recording quickly, even recording vocals in one shot would give the album a more cohesive sound.  Nothing is perfect, and by allowing vocal mistakes and guitar slip-ups to hit the final recording the band produced something that felt very honest.

The album has a completely organic feeling and transports any listener to a really beautiful state of being.  Although Helplessness Blues is admittedly less upbeat than their original sound, Fleet Foxes managed to craft another earthy adventure of relaxing and thought provoking music.  Listeners of the band will definitely need to get used to the new sound that is being produced on Helplessness Blues but they would do well to add it to their musical queue.  Sit back, relax and enjoy the latest from Fleet Foxes.

Purchase Helplessness Blues here, and also help support Blue Robot:

{name} Author: Samantha Hatfield
Bio: Samantha is currently a senior double majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Theater. She is a perfectionist with a penchant for writing, video production and music. Ever since seeing Weezer live at the then “Tweeter” Center at the ripe old age of 12, she has been hooked on live music and developed a voracious appetite for new albums and bands. Some of Samantha’s favorite bands include: Bon Iver, The Raconteurs, Florence + The Machine, Band of Horses, Cage the Elephant, Ray LaMontagne and the list goes on.


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