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The First Days of Spring CD


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Amazon's Noah and the Whale Store

Music

Image of album by Noah and the Whale

Photos

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Biography

In the early January of last year, Charlie Fink set to work on Noah and the Whale's third album. Holed up in a synagogue in East London, he had little to begin with — a few fragments, a sketch for a 10-minute song that resembled Street Hassle, and a set of lyrics begun on a New Year's Day train from Wales to London. But what little there was seemed to suggest the beginnings of ... Read more in Amazon's Noah and the Whale Store

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Frequently Bought Together

The First Days of Spring + Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down + Last Night on Earth
Price For All Three: £16.94

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Product details

  • Audio CD (31 Aug. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Mercury Records
  • ASIN: B002CQV0QS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,778 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. The First Days Of Spring (Album Version) 6:39£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Our Window (Album Version) 5:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. I Have Nothing (Album Version) 2:42£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. My Broken Heart (Album Version) 5:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Instrumental I (Album Version) 1:33£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Love Of An Orchestra (Album Version) 2:03£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Instrumental II (Album Version) 1:36£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Stranger (Album Version) 5:17£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Blue Skies (Album Version) 4:07£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Slow Glass (Album Version) 3:17£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. My Door Is Always Open (Album Version) 4:35£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

BBC Review

For the first minute of this second album by British four-piece Noah and the Whale, one can be forgiven for thinking that Sigur Rós have gone oddly alt-country. The intro to the opening title track is, in a word, celestial.

Vocalist Charlie Fink’s entrance reassures the listener that this is, indeed, the same band that enjoyed chart success with the track 5 Years Time roughly 12 months ago. But while his opening lyrics – “It’s the first day of spring, and my life is starting over again” – are wonderfully optimistic, looking towards the future with eyes wide and fingers crossed, the dominant tenor of this long-player is decidedly wistful.

Taking cues from both Will Oldham – the cracked, worn vocal tones – and Bill Callahan – that wonderfully lovelorn weariness – Fink’s on fine form throughout this long-player. And he has to be, as while the music around him swells with affecting elegance, it’s firmly entrenched in its players’ comfort zones. That’s not to say progress isn’t apparent from the band’s debut, Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down; but you’d never call these arrangements adventurous.

Consistency is achieved, though, and as such The First Days of Spring makes for an enjoyably full listen – the way the title track slips from its strings-filled crescendo to the following Our Window and its measured, morose piano line is magical, and never are vocals rushed to the fore at the expense of scene-setting instrumentation. That this is a record available with an accompanying film, written and directed by Fink, is pertinent: set these gentle melodies and hushed confessionals to appropriate visuals and the senses slip into a sweet embrace. A trailer, doubling as the video for single Blue Skies, can be found online.

The First Days of Spring even plays out as if scripted, sequenced to suggest coming developments – there’s mention made of proverbial blue skies returning long before the aforementioned track’s subject-matter extrapolation, for example. And, like any movie worth remembering, the album features its share of striking imagery and balances the jovial with the deeply dolorous, reaching its darkest depths with Stranger’s revelation that “Everything I’ve loved has gone away”.  

But as My Door is Always Open ends proceedings, resolution is achieved with a triumphant declaration of “now I’m free”. Yet our protagonist’s back is not turned, as the title suggests – lines drawn, matters settled, the album closes with satisfying finality.   --Mike Diver

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By P. S. Abreu on 20 Sept. 2010
Format: Audio CD
This album is on my top 10 preferred albuns of all time. Simply a beautifull and inspiring work from Noah and the Whale, fantastic melodies and lyrics - I didn't know Noah and the Whale until this album and its such a feeling of discovering you don't get every day. Mostly recommended!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Izod on 23 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this on the back of the group doing a session on Stuart and Mark's evening show on R2 that I really enjoyed. I am really enjoyng this album as well. It certainly isn't going to be for everyone - I would have hated it when I was 19 - but if you have gone beyond just wanting to jump and down to records and enjoy bathing in sounds then you will probably like this. The group do seem to have absorbed a lot of influences and have certainly listened to one too many Sigur Ros albums, but that is no bad thing. The tunes are warm and cuddly and the orchestral departures really rather mature and engaging.

Genuis? No.

A very good pop record? Certainly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adam Lowe on 31 May 2011
Format: Audio CD
Following the break-up of Charlie Fink, lead singer of Noah And The Whale, and Laura Marling, the twice Mercury Prize nominee and solo artist, Fink needed a catharsis to clear away the emotional baggage he carried from the breakdown of their relationship. Thankfully for us, the listener, this catharsis has resulted in one of the best albums of the year.

'The First Days Of Spring' exclusively deals with this breakdown, lyrically, and also musically. The melodies are often sparse and come with a sense of haunting mystification, as they build slowly with a certain clarity which seems ready to be unleashed at any minute. The title track starts with a quiet drum beat, woozy violon and sparse guitar, building ever so slowly. This is followed by 'Our Window', with it's gentle piano loop and ever-growing violon, which stand in a sharp contrast to Fink's tenor voice. The first four songs of the album, including 'I Have Nothing' and 'My Broken Heart', battle for hope over despair, as the mournful melodies try to find joy in their surroundings, and it is only on the latter that we start to find the first signs of optimism amongst the ambivalent moods.

The following 'Instrumental I' leads into 'Love Of An Orchestra', which shows the real optimism that has been found, with Fink singing 'I know I'll never be lonely...I'm carrying all the love of an orchestra.' After the weary, sombre openings, this explosion of happiness can't escape feeling a little superficial, as we see a blast of glee when it would be least expected.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Colyn on 31 Aug. 2009
Format: Audio CD
Noah and the Whale had the mammoth task with "The First Days of Spring" to better their first album. Somehow they have managed this. Each song is in keeping with the theme of the album, that of loss, hope and mistakes. The songs are all individual and retain that sound of the first album, however there is more of the deeper and slower tracks, with the lively melodies that shot them to fame last year, such as Five Years Time, are no longer as frequent. However this has added to the musical complexity of the album as present in each of the songs is a slowly changing sound, take the first single "My Door is Always Open", the opening is reminiscent of "Mary" from the first album, the same gently strummed chord and Fink's voice slow and melodic over the top. Throughout the track it switches to moments where the chords lift and there is hope until the music speeds up for the last minute, reminding us of the fun first Album.

Still present are the sounds that set Noah and The Whale Apart, the light guitars, the fiddle and the painful note in Charlie Fink's voice that make every song heart wrenchingly beautiful yet there is a depth and cohesion to the album which shows how the band has grown, losing some of the more child-like influences to create an album that is grown-up and clearly full of genuine emotion.

New, for the band, with this album come a DVD, here the stories behind the music is told between scenes switching between the different ages of one man. This is no half-hearted attempt to make a film with hand held camera's following the band, but an 8 day venture using proper filming cameras, showing wide shots and artfully designed scenes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Oakley on 4 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Better (in my opinion) than the quirky first album. There are still some great tunes but the subject matter is darker; the album feels more mature and holds together more coherently. The First Days of Spring is about the ending and aftermath of a relationship (in this case involving a certain Laura Marling). This could have produced a pretty depressing collection of songs but with a few exceptions the album is more uplifting and optimistic than you might expect. Not that some of the lyrics aren't melancholic but the songs are lifted by beautiful melodies which instill a sense of hope. Some reviews have criticised the lyrics for being rather clichéd and while a few lines, taken out of context could be seen as such, the album feels like a genuine attempt to honestly convey the experiences of the writer.

The prevailing sound is uncluttered and spacious, often little more than haunting melodies picked out on guitar, accompanied by restrained precussion and vocals, (though the middle of the album includes a diverting choral pastiche). The music is relaxing and engaging and I have enjoyed listening to it repeatedly. Highly recommended.
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