Fleet Foxes

Helplessness Blues

After scrapping the original recording sessions for their sophomore album in 2009, trepidation and obsession took over Robin Pecknold’s life. This pressure mirrors the existential themes that run throughout Helplessness Blues, often looking back on a life barely lived, pushing for acceptance and living without regret. Album opener “Montezuma” is hollow and sparse, slow crescendos meet strong sweeping harmonies as Pecknold sings about the “man that I used to be”. Channeling Simon & Garfunkel, “Helplessness Blues” is a rootsy introspective look at the human condition. “Battery Kinzie” is an acoustic jaunt taken from the perspective of a wide-eyed walker character, blissful and earnest before coming to an abrupt halt just under three minutes. That narrative slant returns in album highlight “Grown Ocean”, a full-bodied song that trades locomotive-like guitar strumming with lush percussive swells. Rich with character and strong song structure, Helplessness Blues is a far cry from a sophomore slump. 


4 out of 5 Stars


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