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In Short: Fleet Foxes ‘Helplessness Blues’

I simply don’t have the time for proper album reviews anymore, but yet I’m also listening to a lot of really cool new records that I would like to write about, so this is the result: a new series called ‘In Short’ which will basically be mini-reviews of new albums. Let’s do this thing.

‘Helplessness Blues’ is the much anticipated followup to Fleet Foxes’ critically acclaimed self-titled debut album. While it has been a long time in the making, it is safe to say that it has most certainly been worth the wait.

The most remarkable thing about the album is that it sounds entirely unique. Considering the sheer number of bands that have tried to copy Fleet Foxes over the last few years, the fact that they have crafted an album this distinguishable and this separate from ‘the rest’ is extraordinary and a testament to their talent.

It’s an album that never lets you fall into your comfort zone when listening to it, instead constantly throwing a curveball just when it seems to have settled into a rhythm, with the case in point being the cacophony of disorganized sound in The Shrine / An Argument before the track strips back to a more traditional Fleet Foxes vibe.

Lorelai is my favourite song on the album, if only because it typifies everything that is so great about Fleet Foxes while not becoming a caricature of their music. It’s silky smooth and so very charming, in no small part due to the hauntingly velvety vocals of lead singer Robin Pecknold.

Like all Fleet Foxes music the album is more than the sum of its parts, but yet it also has a heap of memorable individual songs. It’s an album obviously not designed with radio in mind, and that in itself is a huge relief.

Fleet Foxes’ repertoire has expanded significantly since their debut album, and the diversity in this album is something rather special. Yet again they’ve left everyone else in their wake, and it will be years before the imitators even come close.

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