Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Album Review: Noah and the Whale - The First Days of Spring

Here we are at the end of 2009, and I haven't even written about my favorite album of the year. It's not on many people's (or anyone's) lists that I've seen so far but I love it. It's British indie quartet Noah and the Whale's The First Days Of Spring, released in the States back in early October as an 11-song album with a bonus 45-minute film carrying the same name.

I can never quite explain why I'm just attracted to some sad things. Now before you close your browser, run screaming in the other direction with visions of Thom Yorke's helmet filling up with water swimming through your head, and eBerate me for putting a damper on your day, let me just say that yes: this is a breakup album. But stay with me here folks. As the story goes, lead singer Charlie Fink broke up with girlfriend and ex-Noah collaborator Laura Marling before penning these tracks, and the result are some of my new go-to breakup songs.

Which brings us to what I love the most about The First Days of Spring. The songs run the gamut from epic, string-filled confessions that you've fucked everything up and now need to give yourself another chance at happiness ("The First Days Of Spring"), to long awkward silences at 4 am ("Our Window), to the first time you wake up with a new fling ("Stranger"), to finally realizing that it's all gonna get better one day ("My Door Is Always Open"). And it's the permeating hopefulness in the lyrics that makes this more than just a sad sack collection of indie pop tunes -- while still acknowledging the unavoidable pain on the way to recovery.

If I haven't described it well enough, have a listen to my two favorite tracks and let me know what you think:

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