12 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Noah and the Whale are four guys from London, plus Laura Marling (a budding artist in her own right) on vocals, playing a hybrid of stripped down pop and old-fashioned folk. The instrumentation — the usual guitars, drum and bass taking second stage here to fiddle, ukulele, and keyboards — reworks basic pop structures into a more organic and traditional sound. Songwriter Charlie Fink creates real emotional portraits in these songs, and delivers them in a warm, natural vocal style. The set runs the gamut from hazy heartache (“Do What You Do,” “Second Lover”), with wrenching lines like, “I’ll die if I never, ever hold your hand,” to the swinging, carefree feel of “Five Years” and “2 Atoms,” and on to deeper, darker places of the heart and mind. “Shape of My Heart” is catchy and memorable with its violins and big horns, but Fink’s wistful chorus, “If there’s any love in me, don’t let it grow,” stings with doubt. The title track is a treatise on finding peace in life and death, with some of Fink’s finest rhymes carried on plinking piano and acoustic guitar parts. Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down is smart, playful, and a joy to listen to.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Noah and the Whale are four guys from London, plus Laura Marling (a budding artist in her own right) on vocals, playing a hybrid of stripped down pop and old-fashioned folk. The instrumentation — the usual guitars, drum and bass taking second stage here to fiddle, ukulele, and keyboards — reworks basic pop structures into a more organic and traditional sound. Songwriter Charlie Fink creates real emotional portraits in these songs, and delivers them in a warm, natural vocal style. The set runs the gamut from hazy heartache (“Do What You Do,” “Second Lover”), with wrenching lines like, “I’ll die if I never, ever hold your hand,” to the swinging, carefree feel of “Five Years” and “2 Atoms,” and on to deeper, darker places of the heart and mind. “Shape of My Heart” is catchy and memorable with its violins and big horns, but Fink’s wistful chorus, “If there’s any love in me, don’t let it grow,” stings with doubt. The title track is a treatise on finding peace in life and death, with some of Fink’s finest rhymes carried on plinking piano and acoustic guitar parts. Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down is smart, playful, and a joy to listen to.

TITLE TIME
2:04
2:49
2:52
4:16
4:15
4:03
3:34
4:32
6:15
3:26
3:45
4:40

About Noah & The Whale

Noah and the Whale became a leading light in the British folk scene with the release of 2008's Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down, their popular debut that cracked the U.K. Top Ten and spawned the hit single "5 Years Time." Formed in the southern suburbs of London, the band also attracted attention by serving as a launching pad for Laura Marling, who left the lineup to 2008 to launch an award-winning solo career. Noah and the Whale forged ahead in her absence, releasing albums that moved away from the band's folky bedrock while still maintaining a good amount of chart success.

Originally comprised of Charlie Fink (vocals, guitar, harmonica, ukulele), Tom Hobden (fiddle), Matt "Urby Whale" Owens (harmonium, bass), Laura Marling (backing vocals), and Doug Fink (drums), the group began taking shape in 2006 in Twickenham. By early 2008, the bandmates had released several independent singles (including an early version of "5 Years Time") and attracted attention from Vertigo Records, who signed Noah and the Whale several months later. The band made its major-label debut that September with the summery, pastoral Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down. Released several weeks later in the United States, the album featured a re-recorded version of "5 Years Time," which peaked at number seven on the U.K. charts and helped expand the band's following at home and abroad. Marling exited the group several months after the album's release, though, and her relationship with Charlie Fink ended shortly thereafter. Both events inspired the group's second album, The First Days of Spring, which dealt heavily with Fink's breakup and gathered praise for its cinematic arrangements.

Last Night on Earth followed in 2011, signaling a move beyond the folk-rock sound of the band's early material which was instigated by the departure of drummer -- and Charlie Fink's brother -- Doug Fink and the addition of guitarist Fred Abbott. Without a drummer they were forced to experiment with a drum machine, which produced much of the electronic influence found on Last Night on Earth. In the following year they recruited Michael Petulla on drums and toured the country. In 2013, the band announced their fourth record, Heart of Nowhere, which was also accompanied by a short film. ~ Andrew Leahey

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