By Noah and the Whale
Noah and the Whale's debut, 'Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down' was definitely not without its highlights, but it was far from being a record that would stick with me for years. However, this month the band releases their sophomore effort, 'The First Days Of Spring.' A beautiful album, crammed with wonderfully crafted songs layered with strings, brass and choir parts, all smothered in frontman Charlie Fink's gorgeous lyrics charting his feelings about his break up with Mercury nominated songstress Laura Marling.
Starting with his desperate refusal to believe it's over, Fink moves on to his attempts to get over her, and finally to acceptance, despite still loving her. "I'm still here hoping that one day you may come back" he sings as the strings build on the epic opening title track. "The pledge you gave when you said you'd always love me, but we both know by autumn you like the colour of leaves," he sings on the enchanting 'Our Window,' probably my personal pick of the lyrics.
The brilliantly upbeat 'Love Of An Orchestra' is book-ended by two lovely instrumentals, "I know I'll never be lonely, I've got songs in my blood," Fink sings, backed by a jaunty choir and piano part. On 'Stranger,' Fink tears his soul to pieces over guilty feelings of finally sleeping with someone else, moving on to the wonderfully uplifting 'Blue Skies.' "I'll do anything to be happy, 'cause blue skies are coming but I know that it's hard," Fink laments over exquisite guitars and brass. Finally, the album closes with the stunning 'My Door Is Always Open' as Fink leaves us with his closure: "now I'm free, now I'm free from all your pain."
'The First Days Of Spring' is an utter triumph, a stunning break up album, minus all the hate, jammed with rousing choruses and gorgeous refrains. A stunning evolution from indie-pop to epic genius, and when combined with Fink's heart wrenching lyrics and delivery, it creates pure perfection.