It’s some sort of combination of broken-heartedness, a level of maturity, growing and some struggle that lies beneath the eleven tracks I recently downloaded from iTunes. “This is the last song that I write/ while I’m still in love with you/ This is the last song that I write/ while you’re even on my mind/ ’cause it’s time to leave those feelings behind,” is sung above a driving progression of pianos, trumpets and electric guitar, offering a melancholy feel to juxtapose a captivating set of lyrics.
In a follow up to 2008’s Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down, Noah and the Whale has delivered an incredible sophomore album, The First Days of Spring, which offers a completely different feel than its predecessor. The band’s debut was mostly quirky love songs, with elements of deeper meaning hidden behind happy tunes and melodic-based music.
In this newest release, Noah and the Whale perfects their darker side, without losing their established sound. Rather, here, it’s refined to a more developed sense of songwriting–elaborating on some of the deepest and most effective tracks of their debut. The songs tell a story on the whole, talking about breaking up, then the fallout from that. It’s continuation of a beautiful damaged love song that lasts the entire album, hitting all the right chords. There’s the symphonic “Love of an Orchestra,” with an upbeat and operatic feel, immediately preceding a Radiohead-esque instrumental electric guitar interlude that seems to shift the tone of the entire second half of the album, which has a more quiet and introspective feel.
What’s worth commenting about this band is its well-displayed ability to write effective songs. The lyrics in both albums are not only thought-provoking and full of imagery, but they bring the listener in and add to the music what only brilliant writing can.
The best tracks: Blue Skies, Our Window, Stranger, Love of an Orchestra and Slow Glass.
Also, here’s something worth noting: buy it on iTunes for $8 and you get a 50-minute movie that comes along with it. (The album is called The First Days of Spring: A Film and Album by Noah and the Whale). Essentially, it’s one long music video that spans the entire album. It shows the story within the songs, and it’s incredibly well done.