Buzz Band: Brit Quartet Noah and the Whale
LISTEN: The much-discussed Londoners get conceptual with new album and movie -- but are they worth the hype?
The buzz mill is churning for Noah and the Whale, a London-based indie-folk quartet led by Charlie Fink, the 23-year-old singer/songwriter behind the band’s new album, First Days of Spring (out now) and arty film project of the same name.
First Days of Spring — a title inspired by T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland” — is Fink’s ode to the brokenhearted, featuring melancholy melodies, droning strings, and his tender croon. The album was written following his split from Brit singer/songwriter and ex-Whale member Laura Marling. The film, a low-budget effort shot over eight days around the greater London area, centers on a theme of death and rebirth, and the journey in between.
“I came up with the idea for the album because of the way albums are consumed,” Fink tells SPIN.com. “It’s rare that people take it in as a whole — they just break it down into parts and download individual songs. I wanted to create an album where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The experience of going through it is the best. The album and film end differently. I initially saw that the film could be an advisory to listeners who have questions about the album.”
Both the album and film (watch the trailer below) are receiving loads of praise in the U.K. NME issued the band’s latest release 9-out-of-10 stars, comparing it to the Who’s Tommy and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, and calling it “an immense album … we could listen to again and again.” The Guardian wrote that Noah and the Whale] “crafted perhaps the most luxurious-sounding break-up album since Beck’s Sea Change, a quantum leap from the DIY feel of their debut.”
SPIN isn’t so sure. Mikael Wood calls Days “a major downer even by the dejected standards of indie-rock breakup albums,” adding that “Fink finally musters some energy in ‘Love of an Orchestra,’ a two-minute choral romp, but the thaw comes way too late.”
What do you think, SPIN readers? Listen to “Blue Skies” and watch the trailer for First Days of Spring below, then tell us your thoughts in the comment section!
Listen: Noah and the Whale, “Blue Skies”
Watch: The First Days of Spring Trailer