Fleet Foxes’ latest album, Helplessness Blues, coming three years after the release of their self-titled first album, is most certainly worth the wait. Fleet Foxes is an indie folk band, yet this album deviates slightly from their first in that they approach the music that they do best from a more “baroque pop” angle. Using a larger variety of instruments than their previous album and featuring more intricate harmonies between the voices and the stringed instruments, Helplessness Blues reaffirms the excellence of Fleet Foxes.
This album improves on their previous style while still retaining many of the qualities that made us love Fleet Foxes in the first place. Many songs feature the distinctive trait from their first album of changing the tempo, key and tone of the music mid-song. Yet while this sounds as though it would be distracting in songs such as “Sim Sala Bim,” it actually adds a certain depth to the music not found in many other bands. The beautiful vocals harmonizing over each other during these transition periods sound so natural and smooth that they don’t interrupt the flow of the song.
The vocal stylings of Robin Pecknold, the lead singer, are velvety and crooning without sounding whiney or childish. His bandmates match his tone perfectly, creating vocal harmonies that rival those of Simon and Garfunkle.
Perhaps what makes this album so amazing is the fact that through all the changes, the band is still able to retain the distinctive voice they developed through their first album while still improving upon their already remarkable style. If you appreciate folk music, and even if you don’t, this album is worth giving a try. Inspiring vocals, meaningful lyrics, and instrumentation come together to create a truly magical album