Noah and the Whale, 'The First Days of Spring' (Cherrytree/Interscope)

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The First Days of Spring
Critical Mass
Label: Cherrytree/Interscope

by Mikael Wood

The First Days of Spring documents the last days of a relationship -- namely, the one between Charlie Fink, who leads this U.K. twee-folk ensemble, and Laura Marling, who sang on Noah and the Whale's 2008 debut before moving on to her solo career. Long on droning strings and meandering melodies, Days is a major downer even by the dejected standards of indie-rock breakup albums; most of these 11 tunes sound like Sigur Rós Unplugged. Fink finally musters some energy in "Love of an Orchestra," a two-minute choral romp, but the thaw comes way too late.

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