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Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes
Released: May 2011
Label: Sub Pop Records
If bearded angels exist, they probably look (or at least sound) a lot like the Fleet Foxes. The Seattle folkies' 2008 debut assured the hipness of mandolins and multi-part harmonies, and their 2011 follow-up is just as inspiring. This time their bucolic melodies stretch across further terrain: Think Simon & Garfunkel times three, transported back to the Renaissance. Luscious strings and woodwinds waltz on demand for frontman Robin Pecknold, who somehow remains remarkably humble: "I'd rather be a functioning cog in some great machinery, serving something beyond me."
Stephanie Benson
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