Yes, the "Love" Album of the year has arrived (actually has been around now for 3 months....whoops!).
The album in discussion, of course, is the debut album from English folk-rockers Noah and the Whale, entitled "Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down". I've been meaning to share my opinions on this album for awhile, but had not easily gotten around to it; to be honest, I could barely stop listening to it to actually begin writing about it. And whenever I thought of what I would write, I thought "I couldn't possibly explain it the right way!"....But I'm going to try.
In a quick summary to end the suspense: Yes, this is one of the best new bands I've heard all year, and this is a HELL of a debut album to put out. It is folksy, dramatic, optimistic, poppy, sad, and soul-wrenching (yes, its a phrase). And all of this on top of the fact that it's hard enough these days to write a heartfelt album about love without it sounding like a bad Hallmark card with chords.
To put it very bluntly: in a way, this album has single-handedly raised my standards for folk rock for the future. (Yeah, they seem like strong words, but I told you I couldn't easily explain it the right way)
There are seriously lyrics in here that no one could possibly say they feel nothing for, as well as lyrics that can't help but make you smile every time. The vocals are nothing astonishing; singer Charlie Fink barely breaks into second octave throughout the album. But the words make Fink's voice unbearably addicting, and you find yourself listening to everything he has to say, or what words he'll rhyme with the next. The music is relatively simple, each track usually sticking to 3-4 chords. But the combination of humble acoustic guitar, intriguing fiddle, and modest amount of bass and drums make you evermore aware of the words over the music; They blend together brilliantly. There are a few times where the music is a little too slow, I'll admit, and the lyrics aren't quite up to par, but I can honestly say that there isn't one single "bad" song on this entire album (the first time I have said that in a VERY long time, I assure you...). As always, there are a few tracks that top the others. My personal favorite has to be the ominously optimistic "Give A Little Love", whose chorus lyrics should be in the ultimate list of quotes (or some Chinese Proverbial handbook, at least). Right up next to it are the tracks "5 Years Time", "Rocks & Daggers", and the title track "Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down".
So if you're into folk, slow rock, indie, pop rock, acoustic rock, or any weird combination, do yourself a favor and buy Noah and the Whale's debut album as soon as possible.
Listen through the album in its entirety, and I dare you to not listen to it again.