Fleet Foxes announce new album

Seattle folk-rockers to release Helplessness Blues in May – and you can download the title track for free

Fleet Foxes have announced the follow-up to their 2008 self-titled album. The Seattle folk-rockers will release Helplessness Blues on 3 May, followed by North American and European tour dates.

After the unexpected success of their debut LP, Fleet Foxes show no sign of changing direction. Once again, the band recorded songs with Phil Ek, who produced their first album and both of their EPs. Once again, the music features acoustic guitars, yearning choruses and five-part vocal harmonies. And once again the cover art – this time by painter Chris Alderson, not Pieter Bruegel the Elder – evokes a homepsun nostalgia.

If the name Helplessness Blues seems almost self-mocking, there is no sign of irony in the title track streaming now at Soundcloud. But it is a song about abandoning "helplessness blues", running back to someone "some day, soon" with "tongue-tied" promises and talk of orchards. Frontman Robin Pecknold previously described the album as "a little bit less upbeat" and "less poppy" than the first record, citing the influence of Roy Harper's Stormcock and Van Morrison's Astral Weeks. Yet there's no evidence of this darker side on the title track; Fleet Foxes are still more Simon and Garfunkel than Scott Walker.

Helplessness Blues has 12 tracks, recorded at four different studios over the course of a year. Multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson has officially joined the band, according to a press release, and will join them on tour this spring. Fleet Foxes will play London's Hammersmith Apollo on 31 May. Tickets go on sale at 9am this Friday.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Fleet Foxes finish recording second album
Seattle folk-rock quintet promise follow-up to acclaimed debut LP is on its way 'soon'

Sean Michaels

17, Sep, 2010 @10:10 AM

Article image
Fleet Foxes recording 'pretty boring' second album
The hirsute troubadours have revealed that the follow-up to their debut LP will be 'less poppy' and 'less upbeat'. That'll be fun, eh?

Sean Michaels

07, Dec, 2009 @10:15 AM

Article image
Fleet Foxes at Glastonbury 2009

Their CSNY-inspired four-part harmonies provide a great sound, but much of it drifts away into the disappearing clouds

Richard Vine

26, Jun, 2009 @5:36 PM

Article image
Folk CD: Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes

(Bella Union)

Dave Simpson

29, May, 2008 @11:10 PM

Article image
Fleet Foxes' drummer leaves band
J Tillman plans to go 'back into the gaping maw of obscurity'

Sean Michaels

20, Jan, 2012 @11:50 AM

Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues – review
Fleet Foxes's second album feels more like a Robin Pecknold solo effort, says Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

23, Apr, 2011 @11:05 PM

Article image
New music: Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

Rosie Swash: Listen to the new album by Seattle's finest purveyors of baroque harmony

Rosie Swash

26, Apr, 2011 @2:54 PM

Article image
Fleet Foxes at Glastonbury 2011 – review

Even after a call to turn the vocals up, Fleet Foxes played a lacklustre set at this year's Glastonbury, writes Rebecca Nichols

Rebecca Nicholson

24, Jun, 2011 @8:29 PM

Article image
No 6: Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

A debut so accomplished and timeless that its vocal-led music could have been the best album in any year

Paul Lester

10, Dec, 2008 @12:23 AM

The first 10: Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
Graeme Thomson unearths the missing link between hymns, field songs and Brian Wilson

Graeme Thomson

14, Jun, 2008 @11:00 PM