Woah, where the hell did all that come from? At some point in the last month I must have blinked because Fleet Foxes and NME seem to have gone to war.
It all began when we reported Robin Pecknold’s quotes (from an interview with the Sunday Times) that “music has no inherent cash value”, which prompted him to tweet in defense. At some point around that time Gavin Haynes was writing his infamous 4/10 review of their new album ‘Helplessness Blues’, a pretty merciless bashing that prompted a bit of an outcry both on NME.COM and the online forums.
I doubt the band care too much – they’re currently potentially on course to knock Adele off the top of the album chart this week. And elsewhere their second full-length has been pretty rapturously received.
The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis called the album “laughably beautiful” before summarising “if you’re this good at doing what you do, it’s probably best to stick at it”, while Pitchfork awarded ‘Helplessness Blues’ a solid 8.8, insisting its “analytical and inquisitive nature never tips into self-indulgence”. In fact, reviewer Larry Fitzmaurice continued: “Amidst the chaos, the record showcases the band’s expanded range and successful risk-taking, while retaining what so many people fell in love with about the group in the first place.” Which should have raised a bearded smile.
The Independent’s Simon Price expended less words on the LP but did concede it’s “an overwhelmingly gorgeous experience” while Spin reviewer Amanda Petrusich lavished 9 out of 10 on the record, declaring it “downright revolutionary” and an effort on which Pecknold’s voice “has never been sweeter”.
The BBC site has perhaps the most accurate summation: “‘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, and as the blissful outro of its title-track or the breathless, exuberant surge of closer ‘Grown Ocean’ demonstrate, at its core lies a tangible sense of wonder and hope.”
Stream the album now and let us know what you think below. Forget the critic-bashing, instead let’s hear your critical take on the LP.