The newest Fleet Foxes album, Helplessness Blues, was recently leaked on the Internet, available for all who dare to download. Although it won’t be officially released until May 3, this album is worth the downloading risk. Why? Because it sounds like Fleet Foxes.
The group’s first album, 2008’s self-titled release, was an easy addiction; the perfect all-weather adventure, especially with the crisp smell of Autumn. With a harmony of angels, a ragged, wooded sound and such ridiculously hairy beards, it was an inescapable album to soothe a mountain man’s campfirey heart.
And now, three years later, it is safe to say that Fleet Foxes have done it again – they have not lost their sound, and hardly even changed it for that matter. You may be saying, “Well, screw that!” ‘cause, you know, musicians in the same genre are trying new things these days. Iron & Wine recently came out with Kiss Each Other Clean and Sufjan Stevens released The Age of Adz, which were both more electronic and huge leaps from their original sounds. Maybe Fleet Foxes has this in mind for later on, but right now, they really know how to keep that nostalgic feeling. And really, that’s all I ever wanted.
The same ole’ beautiful and intricate guitar works are emphasized in tracks like “Bedouin Dress” and the all-instrumental, “The Cascades.” Frontman Robin Pecknold’s vocals are both haunting and heartbreaking, smoothing perfectly into the creases of the songs. Pecknold even sounds older vocally, which adds to the roughness of the album; there is one particular high note that he cracks on in “The Shrine/An Argument” that gets me every time. It just sounds so right.
Each song tells its own story, all pushing poetically through lyrics like, “Then the Earth shook, that was all that it took for the dream to break/ All the loose ends would surround me again in the shape of your face” from “Sim Sala Bim.” “Battery Kinzie” is very chant-like, with its chorus repeating “Wide-eyed walker/ Do not wander,” which is very reminiscent of “White Winter Hymnal” off of Fleet Foxes.
There’s not much more to say. This album, like the last, is easily addicting and perfect for the beginning of spring. So strap on your overalls and let these sly foxes take you away.