recently released second record, Helplessness Blues. Yet trying to cram the Fleet Foxes story into a 20-minute phone conversation with a man who hesitates to speak about the album’s fiercely personal themes is a big ask, especially when he spends what seems like hours carefully weighing up each question before replying.
The album has undoubtedly been well-received, although not as voraciously or quickly as its predecessor – but that’s to be expected, Pecknold agrees.
“Once the record’s done, it’s done,” he says. “Nothing anyone is gonna say is gonna change the record itself. It’s been a long process. We sort of know what we want to do next anyway, so it doesn’t really matter how this one’s received. Right now, the new songs feel like they haven’t fully solidified yet, but in a cool way, y’know? We’re still trying live stuff with them, and different ways of performing them. When you perform a song hundreds of times, like we did with the first album, you sort of get it to a certain place where it’s not even like a live version anymore. So it’s cool to be playing new ones that don’t have as much muscle memory to them yet.”
In any case, it’s not as if the Seattle band rely on critical validation – nor, in most cases, expect it. Pecknold has grounds to be somewhat wary of the press these days; a recent public spat on Twitter with NME (Pecknold accused the magazine’s website of