.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/973e2634c1ff31bf619f92ed7d8f0a3fdc01e48f.jpg Helplessness Blues

Fleet Foxes

Helplessness Blues

Sub Pop
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
28
April 28, 2011

Click to listen to the Fleet Foxes' Helplessness Blues

The beauty is skin-deep on the second album by the Pacific Northwest band Fleet Foxes. With its gleaming acoustic guitars, acid-folk brush strokes (harmonium, hammered dulcimer) and warming choral harmonies, Helplessness Blues is vocalist-songwriter Robin Pecknold's dazzling evocation of early-Seventies rock Eden: the Sunflower-era Beach Boys and the spaced-cowboy romance of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, dosed with the Indo-Celtic exotica of the Incredible String Band.

Fleet Foxes Get Existential on Second Album, 'Helplessness Blues'

Underneath, you find trouble-songs loaded with blown chances, battered ideals and impending mortality. "I wonder if I'll see/Any faces above me/Or just cracks in the ceiling," Peck­nold sings in "Montezuma," imagining his deathbed. He does it in a chirpy, disarming voice, like a young Graham Nash. Yet there is a fighter's spirit in there and in the period-perfect glow of the music: a stubborn faith in the peace and healing embodied by records like Déjá Vu. "If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm raw . . . and you would wait tables and soon run the store," he sings in the gorgeously appointed title song. It's like Nash's "Our House," rewritten for an age of reduced expectation but rendered with a true seeker's gusto. Too young to have experienced the era he holds so dear, Pecknold has found refuge and inspiration in the echoes.

Spring Music Preview: Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters, Lil Wayne and Many More

28
prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Try a Little Tenderness”

    Otis Redding | 1966

    This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com