Albums to watch

Helplessness Blues

Fleet Foxes

Helplessness Blues

Sophomore album of harmony-heavy folk pop from these Seattle critical darlings

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Bella Union
UK Release date
US Release date
  1. 10.0 |   Mojo

    This album is destined to redraw the parameters thanks to its sheer scale and detail. Print edition only

  2. 10.0 |   The Independent

    With Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes triumphantly deliver on the promise of their popular debut
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  3. 10.0 |   Independent on Sunday

    An overwhelmingly gorgeous experience
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  4. 10.0 |   A.V. Club

    Wide-eyed self-searching is this record’s predominant mode, which Fleet Foxes do both lyrically and sonically, reveling in the process of discovery
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  5. 9.4 |   Beats Per Minute

    Fleet Foxes have become a band who will not stop pushing, who will challenge themselves to avoid stagnancy
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  6. 9.0 |   No Ripcord

    A cosmic, bombastic record, undaunted and ready to expose itself on every corner with a whole lot of heart
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  7. 9.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    It’s a beautifully crafted album, with achingly reflective lyrics and a warmth to the harmonies that could melt an iceberg.
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  8. 9.0 |   Consequence Of Sound

    Helplessness Blues is nothing if not awe-inspiringly triumphant
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  9. 9.0 |   God Is In The TV

    A more mature, more expansive record than their previous work
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  10. 9.0 |   BBC

    Helplessness Blues is born out of a fraught gestation period, touched by doubt, uncertainty and the travails of growing older and finding your place. But it is also a thing of beauty
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  11. 9.0 |   Spin

    The hooks are softer, the arrangements more ambitious, and 1960s British psychedelic folk a far more palpable influence than Americana
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  12. 9.0 |   FasterLouder

    It’s the understated beauty of Helplessness Blues that is its strength, and on the whole, it’s better than the 2008 effort, which is no easy fea
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  13. 9.0 |   Slant Magazine

    While Helplessness Blues rarely eclipses the pastoral greatness of the band's first record, it comes as close as possible without forcing the band to completely reinvent itself
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  14. 9.0 |   musicOMH

    Helplessness Blues is not the sound of a band radically reinventing their formula, but Fleet Foxes understand the importance of steady evolution
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  15. 8.8 |   Pitchfork

    A triumphant follow-up to a blockbuster debut
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  16. 8.0 |   Under The Radar

    Helplessness Blues confirms Fleet Foxes' place as one of the most exacting, creative, and straight-up best bands making music in 2011
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  17. 8.0 |   PopMatters

    The meticulousness that makes it so beautiful also keeps it from being the future classic many were hoping for
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  18. 8.0 |   The Scotsman

    If you loved them before, prepare to fall for them afresh, though you may have to make some room for the Mumford & Sons fans this time round
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  19. 8.0 |   The Skinny

    Whether Fleet Foxes represent the best of folk music’s renaissance is arguable, but they’ve unquestionably returned the genre to the masses
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  20. 8.0 |   Blurt

    Credit the band's ability to offer reverence and circumspect even while etching a spectral aura all their own
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  21. 8.0 |   The Digital Fix

    The heart-stopping magnificence of these songs will not be lost on the listener
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  22. 8.0 |

    Nothing here will knock your socks off quite like 'White Winter Hymnal' or 'Mykonos', but the Foxes have still got something magic that sets them completely apart from the myriad of contemporary folk groups currently doing the rounds
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  23. 8.0 |   Daily Telegraph

    Helplessness Blues triumphs through sheer musical beauty
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  24. 8.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Helplessness Blues is vocalist-songwriter Robin Pecknold's dazzling evocation of early-Seventies rock Eden
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  25. 8.0 |   The Fly

    As good a second album as we dared dream it would be
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  26. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    As winsomely wistful as they come
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  27. 8.0 |   Q

    It's bewitchingly out of time - neither modern nor retro. Print edition only

  28. 8.0 |   Uncut

    As passionately desolate as anything on Joy Division's Closer
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  29. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    Helplessness Blues is far from the audience-baiting gesture artists who feel trapped by their fame tend to make
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  30. 8.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    It’s [the] sense of being allowed a window into some deeply personal moments that ensures this record can stand confidently next to its predecessor
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  31. 7.5 |   Bowlegs

    There’s something really satisfying in hearing a much loved band fully realise the embodiment of their sound
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  32. 7.5 |   Prefix

    Fleet Foxes are one of those rare bands that made their entire point on their debut album
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  33. 7.0 |   Clash

    It’s all incredibly pleasant, although at times too one-dimensional, the songs fading unnoticeably into the background, dissipating in those summer skies
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  34. 7.0 |   DIY

    At times, sound a little bit too well oiled; almost mathematically formulated
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  35. 7.0 |   Rave Magazine

    It is clear that those who enjoyed this first record will enjoy this one, those more sceptical may be harder to convince
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  36. 6.0 |   The Observer

    A thoughtful, elegant record that retains a great deal of what people loved about the Foxes the first time around
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  37. 6.0 |   State

    The album has some carefully crafted songs of introspection and a few brave adventures, albeit it within their chosen folk parameters
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  38. 6.0 |   Eye Weekly

    Helplessness Blues is ultimately less captivating than its self-titled predecessor
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  39. 6.0 |   Tiny Mix Tapes

    While Helplessness Blues is sparser and more restrained that its predecessor, it’s also spotted by unexpected flourishes that are almost experimental by the band’s traditionalist standard
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  40. 4.0 |   NME

    Fleet Foxes suck. They're the soy-latte house band of Starbucks
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