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Fleet Foxes 

Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)

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If in some magical alternate universe Simon & Garfunkel had made Radiohead’s Kid A, this is probably what it would sound like. Helplessness Blues, the second full-length from Fleet Foxes, is leaps and bounds better than its previous self-titled release due to crisp production and more refined sonic textures. With less of the band’s trademark heavy-reverb sound and stronger songwriting, Helplessness Blues is a dynamic record that sounds more like an orchestral suite than a pop album. The biggest improvement is Robin Pecknold’s vocals, which have him performing less acrobatics and experimenting with the range of his own unique timbre, like with the beautiful wail of “The Shrine/An Argument” and hushed melody on “Montezuma.” This is the album that will probably push these guys fully into the mainstream.
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