Noah & the Whale – Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down
Well from that loose London collective that begat Emmy the Great, Johnny Flynn, Laura Marling and Marcus Mumford springs the flagship pop band, Noah & the Whale. They are the big label boys with the poppiest, most radio-friendly sound and even have a hit single to their names.
As an indie-snob, this instantly turns me off a band, and I have to remind myself that this is something that came to them, not the other way around, and a year or so ago I’d have been championing them as a pretty unsigned folk-pop band with a great knack for a hummable tune. I don’t think I’m the only one who needs to keep an eye on his attitude actually, because I’ve seen a few people pull faces when I’ve mentioned these guys recently. Maybe people just don’t like pop, or maybe they think bands shouldn’t try and write songs with a broader appeal than their own little clique. Then again, maybe when you spend so much time around bands that actually need you to pass on the word just in order to get the name out there, it can feel like a rejection when they push on to the kind of level where they just don’t need that anymore.
I should start talking about the album really, shouldn’t I, but I don’t have that much to say about it. It’s very pleasant, with a few killer tunes, and lovely, gentle air to it. The fiddle is really lovely on occasion, but for the most part I find this not to be quite up to the creativity of Johnny Flynn, nor the arresting immediacy of Mumford & Sons. I suppose it’s a little mean to compare friends directly to one another like that, a little like announcing which is the prettier sister, but given the unity of that particular scene I guess it’s a little inevitable.
It’s not quite as obviously memorable as I’d hoped, but this is a lovely record, and I am still getting into it so I could easily warm to it yet more. Don’t get over-excited though, because the nature of a pop record is just that little bit smoother and more broadly inoffensive than some of the more interesting things you can get into and this album certainly won’t be blowing you away. Perfect for doing the cooking on a sunny Sunday afternoon though.
Noah & the Whale – Jocasta
Noah & the Whale – Rocks & Daggers