*Originally published for the Oxford Music Blog (23/12/11)
Pecknold and co. returned this year with a more ambitious follow up to their critically-acclaimed debut. Billowing flutes and Middle-Eastern tinged violins are but a few of the experimental nuances that have expanded Fleet Foxes' signature sound of open-tuned guitars and glowing harmonies. Tracks such as the toe-tapping, variably structured, ‘Helplessness Blues’ explore the album’s complex motif of maturity, while gentle, jazzy snare snaps in, ‘Bedouin Dress’ offer escapism to the tranquil, Yeats-inspired, “Innisfree.” Certainly, the most brave move on the album (and by the band to date) exists in, ‘The Shrine/An Argument’, with bizarre, dissonant trumpets that succinctly reflect the brashness of a passionate feud. A colourful and triumphant return.