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Pop - Paru le 21 septembre 2009 | Co-operative Music

Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks
Noah and the Whale's second album finds frontman Charlie Fink ruminating over his failed relationship with Laura Marling, a fellow songwriter (and former love interest) who played a key role in the band's debut. With music serving as his therapy, Fink fills The First Days of Spring with lush soundscapes and folksy melancholy, finding the beauty that exists in the neutral territory between both camps. This is a cinematic album, one that's meant to be heard in conjunction with its accompanying film (also titled The First Days of Spring, available as part of the album's deluxe edition), and the track list unfolds in appropriate blockbuster fashion. Several tracks set the scene, others advance the plot, and two instrumental pieces serve as gorgeous transition pieces. Laura Marling is nowhere to be found, of course -- her split with Fink has essentially turned Noah and the Whale into an all-male group -- yet her influence permeates the album, from Fink's disillusioned lyrics to the band's vacillations between elated anthems and intimate, disconsolate ballads. Heartbreak can tear a songwriter to shreds, but it serves the opposite purpose here, lending a sense of vulnerability to Fink's baritone and adding some much-needed drama to the band's music, which previously concerned itself with twee-styled progressions and summery melodies. Noah and the Whale has officially grown up. © Andrew Leahey /TiVo
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 4 avril 2011 | Co-operative Music

Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks
On The First Days of Spring, Charlie Fink mourned the absence of ex-girlfriend/ex-bandmate Laura Marling while the rest of Noah & the Whale churned up a sympathetic mix of folk and sad-eyed indie rock. Released two years later, Last Night on Earth finds the band recharged and redirected. “He used to be somebody, now he’s someone else… and it feels like heaven,” Fink sings on the opening track, a tribute to transformation that doubles as the album’s mission statement. Although released during the golden days of England’s indie folk scene, Last Night on Earth reaches far beyond the genre, relying heavily on keyboards and leaving the acoustic riffage to Mumford & Sons. Some of the basslines are synthesized instead of plucked, and some of the percussion is programmed instead of played. At times, the band appears single-minded in its determination to turn over a new rock, and the album suffers whenever Last Night on Earth focuses on presentation -- the polished production, the overdubbed handclaps -- instead of content. But those moments are few and far between. Noah & the Whale sound genuinely happy to be exploring a new direction, and tracks like “Tonight’s the Kind of Night” fuse the Arcade Fire’s chest-swelling anthems with smart, radio-ready sensibilities. On “Wild Thing,” Fink proves he can still wring some serious mileage out of melancholy, too, delivering a Matt Berninger-like vocal over synths and lonely guitar lines. © Andrew Leahey /TiVo
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 4 août 2008 | EMI

Noah and the Whale aren't doing anything hugely unique on their debut album Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down. You can hear bands playing a quite similar brand of strummy, plummy folk-pop on indie film soundtracks, and there are quite strong threads of Belle & Sebastian, Arcade Fire, the Magic Numbers, and a hundred other popular indie poppers running through their sound. This familiarity could breed contempt very easily, but the band manages to escape relatively unscathed and come up with an album that adds to the canon instead of just being a pale exercise in copycat-ism. Credit singer/songwriter Charlie Fink for writing a batch of catchy songs with real emotional depth and singing them convincingly without ever coming close to overselling the emotion. Laura Marling deserves some credit, too, for providing lovely and absolutely essential backing vocals throughout (Fink produced her acclaimed debut record Alas I Cannot Swim), as does the band for providing subtle but dramatic backing at every turn. The core band of guitars, keys, and violins is accompanied by horns on most tracks and producer Eliot James is adept at blending all the instruments and creating dynamics. Without a light and agile touch, a track like "Give a Little Love" could have turned into a mawkish mess as the song swells to its emotional conclusion; as it stands, it becomes a heart-swelling moment of beauty instead. The group also do happy as well as they do heavy, for every melancholy tune like "Second Lover" there's a bouncy, smile-inducing song like "5 Years Time" that has a feeling of joy that's hard to convincingly convey in song without sounding trite and phony. Noah and the Whale never sound phony and they never feel forced, they also never seem in thrall to their influences. Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down could have been all kinds of terrible but instead turns out to be an album that fans of the bands mentioned earlier, plus fans of intelligent and heart-felt indie folk-pop, should probably investigate. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 1 janvier 2013 | EMI

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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 1 janvier 2007 | EMI

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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 1 janvier 2008 | EMI


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