Fleet Foxesâ€™ self-titled debut folked out the indie music scene in 2008, with its influential use of layered vocals and acoustic instruments. The bandâ€™s newest album â€œHelplessness Bluesâ€ will do the same for 2011, but while some listeners might enjoy it for its seemingly simple beauty, others will discover how deep the band has gone over the last three years.
Leading man Robin Pecknoldâ€™s vocal skills are luscious and rich, sung strongly and loud, as if he is trying to be heard in the middle of a windy field without a microphone.
What he is saying will greatly resonate with those who listen and share Pecknoldâ€™s same life worries.
On the first track â€œMontezuma,â€ Pecknold thinks aloud, â€œSo now I am older than my mother and father, when they had their daughter, now what does that say about me?â€
No longer are Fleet Foxes hiding their songsâ€™ meanings through pretty metaphors; they are facing the uncertainty of both living and death. Although they sing in the first person, their songs are moving and relatable.
In a similar style to the newest material from fellow folk artist Iron & Wine, the band adds layers of jazzy flute and fiddle to their usual use of acoustic guitar.
Each song has a similar pattern. Quieter moments build to exhilarating highs as Pecknoldâ€™s hollow sound is met with a multitude of classical instruments being played to their limits.
It echoes the theme of the album â€” quiet reflection followed by fleeting moments of realization.
While they contemplate the future, they also romanticize and reminisce about the past. â€œRemember when you had me cut your hair? Call me â€˜Delilahâ€™ then, I wouldnâ€™t care,â€ Pecknold sings on â€œSim Sala Bim,â€ the third track. Â Â
On â€œBlue Spotted Tail,â€ the big question is asked, â€œWhy is life made only for to end? Why do I do all this waiting then?â€
But they find peace in nature with their final song, â€œGrown Ocean:â€ â€œIn that dream, Iâ€™m as old as the mountains. Still as starlight reflected in the fountains then.â€
_Through their beautiful folk style and heavy lyrics, Fleet Foxesâ€™ newest album is just as worthwhile as their first.
Music reviewer Michael Elizabeth Sakas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org._