The new Fleet Foxes album “Helplessness Blues” has thrown me into a state of confusion! For one I can’t decide whether it has a theme and is just a continuation of their unique sound, or if the songs are all a bit samey? Another point of confusion is my feelings towards the odd eight minute long song which pop up occasionally throughout the album. What is the appropriate length for a song…is there one? Granted, it is a point of sadness for me when a beautiful song comes to an end, you just want to continue lost in that moment forever. But if every song lasted for eight minutes, no one else would get a look in! Maybe it is part of the songs beauty that leaves you wanting more?
Onto the album. It kicks off with “Montezuma”, with almost choral backing vocals one could imagine a choir singing it in a huge church, with the echoing eeriness, so classic to the band. The soft, simple overtone to this song is a great way to easing the listener in and setting the scene for the rest of the album. As the album progresses so does the tempo and energy in each song, with “Bedouin Dress” the ideal track for a mad hatter’s tea party and the catchy “Battery Kinzie” lightening the mood.
Unfortunately, however this energy is slightly dampened by “The Shrine/The Argument” losing the grip on the listener somewhat and causing considerable confusion when what sounds like shrieking geese burst in. The length of the song makes is difficult to decipher where it ends and the next one begins, a feeling common to the album as a whole. Or is this just the signature Fleet Fox style?