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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beatifull work
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!
Published on 20 Sep 2010 by P. S. Abreu

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Sound music, sound band
Noah and the Whale continue to make and play innovative music that is a cut above the fairly average fare available. I really like them.
Published 22 months ago by Mrs Pamela A Hayman


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beatifull work, 20 Sep 2010
By 
P. S. Abreu "PSAbreu" (Madeira Island, Portugal) - See all my reviews
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable hotch potch, 23 Jan 2011
By 
D. Izod - See all my reviews
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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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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholy Beauty, 31 Aug 2009
By 
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. Though it will be winning no oscars, for Fink's first film it cannot be criticised, artsy and 50 minutes long it's worth a watch, however the music is as powerful with or without the film so I wouldn't waste your money on the DVD/CD version of this album.

This album had the highest expectations riding upon it and fans will not be disappointed. This is not an album that needs interpreting, the bands direct lyrics are still going strong, the lyrics manage to still have the straightforwardness that made us love "Peaceful, the World Lays me Down" without straying in to being 50 minutes of crying over lost love. Though many of the songs are talking of loss, the progression in the album leaves the listener full of hope. The last track - "Blue Skies", is full of optimism for the future. And why shouldn't it when the band's future looks nothing but promising?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some beautiful songs, 4 Nov 2010
By 
T. Oakley (Northumberland United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Albums of All Time, 9 Jan 2011
A Kid's Review
I have loved Noah and The Whale ever since their amazing first album and I didn't think they could do much better. But, I bought this and as soon as I played it I thought it was absolutely amazing. I'm only 13 so I don't have much experience of love or heartbreak, but I somehow related to this album. Charlie Fink is a genius in my eyes, his lyrics work so well with the melodies and his voice is just beautiful. There are no bad tracks on this album, they all work together fantastically. Also, I can play this album over and over again and I will never get bored. The songs always have something new to offer and it is just perfect. A few favourites are Stranger, Our Window, Blue Skies and I Have Nothing. I think Stranger just has some beautiful melodies, Our Window's lyrics are amazing, Blue Skies is just perfect and I Have Nothing is so sad but yet amazing. This is one of the best albums of all time. Also, if you have a chance go and see them live, I've seen them 3 times and they have never disappointed me. I can't wait for their new album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 24 Aug 2012
Absolutely love this album and would recommend to everyone. Simply brilliant album. Can't wait to see them live as it will be mesmerising!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LOU REED MEETS RAY DAVIES AND PINK FLOYD, 13 Jan 2012
By 
FastHand (Harefield, England) - See all my reviews
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This album is a vast improvement on their last "Peacful the World lays me down." It's moody and very atmospheric and some of the tracks remind me a touch of Pink floyd. Some of the tracks would be well suited to Lou Reed and also Ray Davies as Charlie Finks ( whom I assume is the lead singer, album notes are apalling) voice does vary from track to track. Charlie Fink who wrote all the songs does sound like a troubled soul who has just split up from a bit of skirt, but maybe that's what he needs to write some memorable songs. The album is beautifully produced and I shall definately be playing it a few times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album, 17 Dec 2011
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This is great, full of surprises. Nice to listen to with headphones on to chill out to. My Broken Heart is a classic track.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty encapsulated, 31 May 2011
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. The second half of the album carries on with this new-found optimism, as Fink proclaims 'This is the last song that I write, whilst still in love with you', giving us the sense that the pessimistic, sombre lyrics that came before have all been forgotten, and a change is coming. However, 'Stranger' is an exception to this, as it goes back to the poignant lyrics of before, woefully singing 'I'm a fox trapped in the headlights.' On the penultimate track 'Slow Glass' and final track 'My Door Is Always Open', the optimism returns, and the album closes beautifully in a crescendo of violin and guitar on the latter.

This really does seem like an evolution for Noah And The Whale, moving from twee pop songs to creating haunting melodies, that really stir the emotions, giving you a comfort that you are not alone in your longings and lamentations. It seems that this album will be the shoulder for many musical fans to rest on for quite a while to come, and even the most withdrawn listener can empathise with the heartache that is put on show for all to see.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars growing on me, 27 Mar 2010
By 
Mike J. Wheeler (Kingswinford, England) - See all my reviews
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Well I've given this one some time before I've written a review. I have to admit on the first few listens this didn't grab me at all and there is still one fault with it that doesn't diminish but more of that in a while. I guess it also seems quite a good time to revisit this now that Laura Marling's excellent second album has been released. That event (at least for the rest of us if not Charlie Fink) presumably brings closure to the theme of The First Days of Spring (unless there's more to come in the Fink/Marling/Mumford nu-folk soap opera?).

Many albums have of course been constructed with a running narrative in the past though none can surely be more 'in your face' obvious than this one. It certainly doesn't bother too much with metaphor. Tell it as it is Charlie Fink! The lyrics are very personal though nowhere near as intimate as the comparably themed 'Boatman's Call' by Nick Cave (nor sadly as good as that album). The songs are aimed directly at Laura Marling and sometimes they're just a bit too desperate for my liking but there's no doubting the sincerity of this and after all that's what really matters when it boils down to it. I do feel though that sometimes listening to this is like intruding on someone's personal grief, like stumbling into a room to find yourself alone whilst two lovers argue. An argument to which you cannot of course have feelings for on either side. Then again, who of us hasn't been in love? Who of us hasn't had their love shattered? So the lyrics whilst of course utterly personal do speak beyond Fink and Marling's affair. Musically though, this is good and the lyrics whilst highly personal are excellent.

Overall this is a very good album but... The thing that I just can't love about this. The 'orchestral' diversion we get half way through... I'm sorry but I just don't get this. What might have been a good idea just hasn't worked in the execution. It ain't Mozart is it.... Or anything that good really. It sounds rather camp to me somehow. I think I see what he was aiming for but what's come out of this is like 'Appalachian Spring' redone by Lloyd-Webber. Not good! There's a return to the choir later on which also fails to move me. Ah well, but the rest of the album is very good, no doubting that. I'd recommend. (8/10)
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