Album: Noah And The Whale, The First Days of Spring (Mercury)
Barely a week goes by these days without the appearance of yet another concept album about a failed love affair, with efforts from La Roux and Frankmusik followed here by Noah and the Whale's account of their frontman and songwriter Charlie Fink's break-up with Laura Marling.
"I do believe that everyone has one chance to fuck up their life," he sings on the title-track. "Like a cut-down tree, I will rise again, bigger and stronger than ever before." With skirling violin spicing the folk-rock arrangement, it has a similar blend of grace and emotion as parts of Astral Weeks, but as track follows self-pitying track, it's not hard to hazard a guess at why the lovely Laura dumped whingeing Charlie, who wears his sensitivity like a cloak while croaking his misery. But one's impatience with Fink is tempered somewhat by the band's inventive sonic strategies, from the melodic use of prepared piano on "Our Window", the glinting pedal steel of "My Door Is Always Open", and the "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"-style humming of "I Have Nothing", to the galloping arrangement – akin to a Sufjan Stevens epiphany – of "Love of an Orchestra".
Download this: The First Days of Spring, Our Window, Love of an Orchestra
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