Although this review details with lucidity everything I dislike about Helplessness Blues; in the end I ultimately rank it near their self-titled album as it remains a beautiful aural experience. Likewise, it required a few turns to truly appreciate the album & nothing grabbed me the way "White Winter Hymnal" did previously ("Battery Kinzie" would be the nearest offender). And while the aimless lyrics of the title track are indeed irritating, when the song shifts & Pecknold pines for his orchard (& the guitar is divinely plucked at 3:24), I find it transcendental. "The Plains / Bitter Dancer" is possibly the least introspective track & it is a sheer delight; from the instrumental first half to the content of the lyrics. "Sim Sala Bim" may have the most traditional folk tendency & its adroit turns of phrase (e.g. "Lighting a match on the suitcase's latch in the fading of light") are evocative of an arcane journeyman who may or may not be malevolent. Nevertheless, the purely acoustic numbers cannot match the graceful beauty of "Oliver James" from their debut.
Regardless of the flaws you & I perceive in it, I cannot shake the album from my head nor cd player. If it was anything other than a Fleet Foxes album, I would consider it a masterpiece (Pecknold & Co. shake their head at impossible fans).
Here's to everyone finding their orchard & long live the Fleet Foxes.