As Autumn begins, it may not seem ideal to review an album titled “The First Days of Spring” but given that good music is ideal any time of the year, this aspiring concept album by Noah and the Whale deserves a look over. Every album has a niche to fill, if done correctly. “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles is perfect for a day that is just absurd enough to be barely abnormal, “Megalithic Symphony” by last year’s E-Days headliner AWOLNATION is perfect when an electric enthusiastic jolt is needed, and any album by Explosions in the Sky sets the tone for a deeply moving experience. “The First Days of Spring” is by far one of the most dramatically perfect break up albums of all time. It starts with the bleary consistency of a dejected hungover morning and builds towards an unsurpassed hope that the future will be better than the past. Along the way there are moments of regret, joy, and acceptance.
If none of that serves as a selling point to anyone but the most broken hearted, the album as a whole is also musically inspiring. Many of the tracks, while meant to be played one after another, can serve as individual singles. Without the context of the album as a whole, the songs can represent a whole wide array of emotion, ranging from the unsurpassed upbeat joy of “Love of an Orchestra” to the desolate sadness of “I Have Nothing.” The best song on the entire album by far is “Blue Skies” which almost compresses the message of the whole album down to an all too short four minutes and eight seconds. That message refines to something along the lines of, “it may not get better now, but there will come a time when it will be.”
Despite being a strong album,it has a few glitches. The John Cusack quote, “Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” from “High Fidelity” applies well for the album. Surely the album is great for a listen once or twice in a short period of time, but any more than that and a special form of music misery begins to set in. The album can also be a tad pretentious and experimental from time to time in a way that is exemplified by modern indie bands.
Even though the album is older, having been released in 2009, “The First Days of Spring” still holds up after nearly half a decade. For the ambitious, the whole album has a concept video, which can be viewed for free online. While it may be a bit less powerful than the music itself, and anyone watching it will surely be labeled as a hipster, it still has its place. Overall, for an album with a purpose, “The First Days of Spring” fills its purpose as a direct connection with the listener rather than the artist telling the listener a story. For those in need of the message told by the album, it comes more than recommended.
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