Thursday, 29 December 2011

10 Best Albums of 2011: #3

3. Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues

What’s most immediately striking about Fleet Foxes’ sound on Helplessness Blues is just how expansive it is, and I mean that in both senses of the word: not only does it draw from a variety of cultures, but it quite literally draws the listener in; from the first few notes of “Montezuma” to the final a capella lines of “Grown Ocean”, it’s difficult at times to become disengaged from the sonic world Helplessness Blues envelops us in. Lead vocalist and songwriter Robin Pecknold’s no slouch in the lyrics department either, with his frequently matter-of-fact lyrics serving as both complement and counterpoint on such songs as “Someone You’d Admire” and “Lorelai”. Taken as individual songs, the listener may find Fleet Foxes’ second record to be petty, even inconsequential, at times; taken as a whole, however, Helplessness Blues is one of the most richly rewarding records you’ll find this year.

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