I’m more than slightly hesitant to confess that, up until now, Noah and the Whale had completely passed me by. It’s funny, because as their second release began to rouse me on one of those misspent sort of days – one which I witnessed almost entirely from the cocoon of my bed – I struggled to comprehend how I’d gone so long without even the briefest of introductions to this band.
You see – and as awkward as it may be to lay my cards on the table like this – I’m a sucker for records marred by heartbreak and despair; especially those slow-driven masterpieces which forlorn souls may prescribe themselves to alleviate/exacerbate their broken hearts.
And in many ways, The First Days of Spring ticks a lot of those boxes. There are strings, and there is haziness, and layered over it all are effortless vocals, a flashlight in the dark to keep you sane they narrate their way through all the right sentiments. “Well, I have nothing; I have no one; I’ve been so quickly set free,” he murmurs on I Have Nothing right from the outset, and instantly the pessimist in me finds it impossible not to appreciate his emotion.
Don’t get me wrong, though; this is not a perfect record. But it does confirm this: I should have been conscious of Noah and the Whale long before this point, not least because they’re good enough to stick around for a while yet.