Last summer Noah & The Whale delighted the music listening public with their endearing brand of happy-go-lucky folk pop, charming their way into the the Top 10 on the UK singles and albums charts - with "Five Years Time" and Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down respectively - and surprising everyone as one of the year's most unexpected runaway successes. Now, barely a year later they're back with their second album, but anyone expecting a faithful sequel to their debut is in for something of a rude awakening.
We got an advance listen just after the album's completion last spring, and what we heard was the sound of the band boldly stepping out in a new direction away from that which made them the whimsical darlings of the pop world. The result is a sophomore album that's a veritable seachange from it's predecessor. First Days of Spring is a classic heartbreak record full of dark, orchestral ballads of hurt and healing, no doubt attributable to the dissolution of frontman Charlie Fink's relationship with Laura Marling last year. There's a tension between a tangible darkness that hangs over the record and the hopefulness of new beginnings throughout, and lead single "Blue Skies" is a brilliant example of this.
More than just an album, First Days of Spring is also a film written and directed by Fink, the trailer of which doubles as a music video for the single and can be found above. Sweetening the deal even further is the rather impressive (not to mention surprising) remix package for "Blue Skies", highlighted by the amazing Twelves mix, which goes down as another massive win from the Brazilian remix maestros.
MP3: "Blue Skies" (The Twelves Remix) - Noah & The Whale