Thursday, 5 January 2012

Fleet Foxes - Helpessness Blues

I liked the original idea of raw material being used instead of a well produced fine album. I'm a big fan of Van Morrison's Astral Week and was excited when I read they wanted to try an album like what he did over 40 years ago. That wasn't to be, I'm not sure if they tried, I gather they attempted to replicate the conditions and other factors from Astral Weeks, a part of me believes the output from these sessions were straight up terrible. I'd like to hear these sessions if they did take place.

This album starts off a little flat, follows on from where the self titled finished, with reverbed harmonic vocals over acoustic arpeggio guitar riff's. I was a a huge fan for Fleet Foxes self titled alum back in 2008, so I've been anticipating this album, I've put off listening to it for a few months just because my thoughts are elsewhere, a different side of Folk.

This album then uses the basic Folk structure, just with a bigger presence of percussion. The bass used here is very calming and doesn't really excite me. The song's are sounding great, they have improved in some aspects, the harmonies are just as present as they were, the changes during songs is also present,  'Sim Sala Bim' is a good example of this, where the acoustic guitar just explodes with an Irish feel to this song. 

The album is relaxing, the self titled track is truly brilliant. Like others it explodes, the vocals sound polished, well produced, very little room for error. The songs here sound timeless, Folk is like this. Fleet Foxes are bringing Folk back into the mainstream, it is Folk, it's just well produced and has a particular vocal style.

'Grown Ocean' ends the album, it's my favourite track. It's a standout, the pounding drums and unlimited acoustic guitars surround with the atmospheric imagery the song creates. I enjoyed this album very much on my first listen, my second and third were even better, it's an album that grows. This is unlike the very likable debut, which I still prefer.


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