don't you tell me how i feel.

helplessly devoted by v

Helplessness Blues, the much-anticipated new album from Fleet foxes, is in pretty regular rotation for me at the moment. As you may recall, I happened upon the band fairly recently and fell in big fat love with their creepy-beautiful harmonizing.

If you like their stuff to date, the new album doesn’t deviate too much: The foxes continue to Crosby Stills and Nash the hell out of everything on Blues, with occasional Zeppelinesque moments (the end of “Sim Sala Bim” is extremely reminiscent of “Gallows Pole”). Point is, these Seattle dudes are throwing a ’70s lovefest.

Some highlights: the fiddles on “Bedouin Dress,” which offer some relief from a sometimes hyperserious sound, and the moment on “The Shrine_An Argument,” (nice use of underscores on these titles, btw) where Robin Pecknold’s voice rises above a campfirey whisper to almost growl “SUNLIGHT OVER ME NO MATTER WHAT I DO.” But the apex here is easily the deftly layered, haunting vocals at the beginning of “The Plains_Bitter Dancer.” OBSERVE.

I will say, though, that it requires a certain amount of attention to distinguish this from their past efforts — a casual listen yields little more than lovely voices calling from the woods (for me, anyway). But to their credit, they have achieved that remarkable feat of making a record that sounds familiar, even though you’ve never heard it before.

Also, is it an accident that they recorded Blues in the same place that Beach House made the inimitable Teen Dream? I think not, friends.


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I am a huge fan of this album. I too happened upon Fleet Foxes very recently and am so glad I did. I think they are making music about the modern American experience, but that by cloaking it in this old-timey trappings it sounds like it’s about a forgotten time. I dig it. I dig them. “Bitter Dancer” is also my favorite. Really like “Lorelai” too. And I think that the really powerful, kind of angry “SUNLIGHT OVER ME NO MATTER WHAT I DO” moment is a big key to the concept of the whole record.

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