Released: 2011 report error
De verrassing is een beetje weg na de inslag van het debuut een paar jaar geleden. Maar Fleet Foxes blijven hun beste eigen kopie. Ze hadden zelf moeite om zich daarbij neer te leggen, want de opnames verliepen stroef. Maar wij laven ons met plezier nog eens aan de vertrouwde Fleet Foxes ingrediënten: melodie, drive, akoestische instrumenten, tonnen reverb en de hemelse samenzang van Robin Pecknold en zijn muzikanten. (1)
Helplessness Blues is the second studio album by Seattle-based folk band Fleet Foxes (release: May 02, 2011 on Bella Union) - leaked almost six weeks prior to the release).
Initially, Robin Pecknold had stated he would like the album to be released in 2009; however, the band's touring schedule had caused them some setbacks. They got together to rehearse new songs in February 2009 in a rented house outside Seattle, but the sessions were mostly scrapped. As a result of those wasted sessions, the band lost $60,000 of their own money. After their tour in support of the 2008 releases ended, the band's singer-songwriter mentioned the possibility of starting to record new songs, but Joshua Tillman, Fleet Foxes' drummer and co-song arranger, was scheduled to play Europe and North America all along the 2009-10 winter as part of his solo musical act. Added to this, Philip Ek, the band's producer and friend answered in an interview that he was likely to continue as the producer as Robin had already sent him some demos to start listening to. In an interview with Pitchfork, Pecknold stated he expected the album to be released sometime in the second half of 2010. The incredible care Pecknold put into the album was painstaking, creating turmoil in his personal relationships. In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Pecknold admitted that his girlfriend of five years found the stress this album placed on their relationship too much, and ended things. Upon hearing the completed album, she realized that Pecknold's efforts were worth it and they are working it out.
Pecknold has come out saying for their second album he tried to sound "less poppy, less upbeat and more groove-based". Taking inspiration from Roy Harper's psychedelic folk album Stormcock, or at least its 12-string guitar he said: "That will be the primary sonic distancing from the last record". Added to this, he stated they wanted to record very quickly, saying he wanted to do the "vocal takes in one go, so even if there are fuck-ups, I want them to be on there. I want there to be guitar mistakes. I want there to be not totally flawless vocals. I want to record it and have that kind of cohesive sound. Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, to me, is the best-sounding album because it sounds like there were only six hours in the universe for that album to be recorded in. So I want it to have that feeling."
The band had recorded since April 2010 in different locations (including West Hurley, New York) after two years of writing material and decided to scrap the earlier idea of a fast recording (though according to the band, the vocal takes as of yet have all been done in one take, perhaps in line with the original imperfect recording idea).
In a press release from the band on January 31st, 2011, it was revealed that former Blood Brothers and Past Lives multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson had been officially added to the Fleet Foxes lineup.
The album cover was illustrated by Seattle artist Toby Liebowitz and painted by artist Christopher Alderson. The title track, "Helplessness Blues" was released via free download on January 31st, 2011, and the album's fourth track, "Battery Kinzie" premiered on Zane Lowe's show on March 22nd, 2011. Their record label, Sub Pop, also released a downloadable music video made up of recording and other miscellaneous footage set to Fleet Foxes' song "Grown Ocean" on its site in support of the album. Additionally, the band released a 12" double A-side single of the title track backed with "Grown Ocean" for Record Store Day on April 16th, 2011.