Seeing Noah And The Whale at SXSW this year was one of innumerable high points — it was simply one great but minor experience in a week packed with great but minor experiences of what ultimately would be one of the best, albeit exhausting, weeks of my life up to this point. Despite the greatness of their performance, they disappeared from my peripheral until this weekend when I picked up Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down.
There’s an undeniable force behind Noah And The Whale — virtually every song is filled with strife and heartache and its one of the more definable traits in Charlie Fink’s vocals. The backing music differs, however; a clever blend of orchestral folk and pop that gives NATW a unique edge.
To pare the album down to a single highpoint would be impossible. In “Shape Of My Heart” it’s the blaring trumpets and harmonic vocals. In “Do What You Do” it’s the pure emotion in the vocal styling (singing If you do what you do / well you’ll do fine) backed by strings. In “Give A Little Love” and “Second Lover”, it’s the lyrics…
In the former, its the giving up of hope but the wish for the next guy to not experience the same pain: If you get a little love / You can get a little love of your own / Don’t break his heart. In the latter, the longing in lyrics like And when will your hand find itself in mine.
Sure, we’ve all heard seen the Saturn commercial, the one with “5 Years Time” ringing out its sunny melody. But what that song has in catchy, bright notes, it lacks in the emotive power found in the rest of the album. In no way is that song a good gauge of Noah And The Whale — for that, you’ll need to listen to songs like “2 Atoms In A Molecule” or “Rocks & Daggers” or “Hold My Hand As I’m Lowered”.
1. 2 Atoms In A Molecule
3. Shape Of My Heart
4. Do What You Do
5. Give A Little Love
6. Second Lover
7. 5 Years Time
8. Rocks & Daggers
9. Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down
11. Hold My Hand As I’m Lowered