Two Thousand and Eleven Tunes part 9

9} Fleet Foxes : Helplessness Blues

Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues is the sound of a band who really, really didn’t want to disappoint their fans with a sophomore slump. Their debut LP grabbed a good portion of the listening public by the ears and gently magicked them into an alternate universe where Brian Wilson decided to become a producer instead of go crazy, and CSNY hired him to put the Good Vibrations mojo on Deja Vu. Or, at least, listening to Fleet Foxes’ shimmering harmonies, oceany reverb, and wildflower melodies made us dream of such stuff. Well, Grown Ocean from Helplessness Blues actually delivers that folk-rockgasm fantasy. Better yet, the album expands, sharpens, brightens, and deepens their lovely racket, giving fans more than they thought to hope for. For those closet hippies out there, this is musical perfection. Folk music without corniness or naivete. Transcendent rock-n-roll without goofy drug psychedelia. New age pop without new age cheeze.

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