Album: Noah and the Whale, Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down (Mercury)

Anti-folk pushing the twee-ometer off the scale
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The Independent Culture

Noah and the Whale are yet another gaggle of posh kids from Twickenham, where being in a hip indie band would appear to be the Noughties equivalent of going on a gap year to Thailand to "find yourself".

The acoustic quintet, of whom Mercury nominee Laura Marling is a sometime member, are led by 21-year-old Charlie Fink, who has been hailed as a rising star of the anti-folk genre, but who has none of the wit and poignancy of, say, Moldy Peaches, none of the winning charm of, say, Lightspeed Champion or Adam Green and none of the emotional resonance of, say, Bright Eyes. What he does have in spades, however, is (on "2 Atoms in a Molecule") a horrible please-be-my-fwend They Might Be Giants delivery, or (on "Do What You Do") a horrible Julian Casablancas I'm-half-asleep delivery, or (on "Jocasta") a horrible I'm-the-male-Joanna-Newsom delivery. And Lord knows the female one can be trying enough on occasion. The twee-ometer is nudging the red at all times, and the ukulele on top 10 single "5 Years Time" and glockenspiel on the title track both send it pinging into overdrive. Charlie Fink has a promising future as every Jack Johnson fans' eighth-favourite singer and as a supreme irritant to the rest of us.

Pick of the Album: Follow the herd: '5 Years Time'