The long-awaited second album from Seattle’s Fleet Foxes is here and it was well worth the wait. This album has been in the works since 2009. I often get skeptical when it takes a band too long for a follow-up. Forget that. My new philosophy is give a band whatever amount of time it needs. Don’t rush the creative juices and everyone should be happy.
With Helplessness Blues, the band has been able to advance themselves creatively without losing their identity. The Fleet Foxes that came on the scene in 2008 and their unique sound that got them added to pretty darned near every critic’s list is here. Yet, they’ve transcended. Over 12 glorious tracks, the listener is taken on a journey that could be described as religious. It doesn’t hurt that the production has a strong choral feeling to it or that Robin Pecknold’s voice is otherworldly. What you have here are finely crafted and hardworking songs that intertwine to create a much deeper experience for the listener. There’s also a truth in the lyrics and a passion in the performance that drives that experience straight to your heart.
Mark my words, this album will again be at the top of the critics’ lists come year end. I’ll go a step further and say that this is the album that will ensure their legacy.