Fleet Foxes describe their invigorating brand of soulful ballads as "baroque harmonic pop jams," invoking the dynamic art that dominated Europe during the 17th century, full of overt emotion and self-confident rhetoric. Beneath the intensity and assurance of Robin Pecknold's powerful vocals and the orchestral grandeur of songs like "Protector" and "Ragged Wood" on their eponymous debut album lies a softer, gentler Fleet Foxes. The band seems best suited for a crackling fire and the cold mountain air than the thousand-seat venues they've consistently sold out around the country.
"Helplessness Blues," the latest release by the band, affirms that the Seattle-based quintet will always remain children of nature, regardless of the concrete jungles that may envelop them on tour. More pop than folk, introspective than anthemic, Fleet Foxes manage to create a musical experience that encourages a moment of solitude amid a frothing crowd of concert-goers.
On iTunes: Fleet Foxes / "Helplessness Blues"
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Jared Keller is a journalist based in New York. He has written for Bloomberg Businessweek, Pacific Standard, and Al Jazeera America, and is a former associate editor for The Atlantic.