Noah and the Whale
Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down


4.0
excellent

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (109 Reviews)
August 10th, 2009 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sonically jovial, atmospherically somber, and equivocally brilliant.

Lofty critical assertions encompass Noah and the Whale's bipolar debut 'Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down'; poignant declarations that the band had created the new millennium's 'In the Aeroplane Over the Sea' or that the band were non-negotiable successors to Arcade Fire's proverbial indie throne. These statements - while perhaps overzealous and unnecessarily farcical - are not completely baseless: vocalist Charlie Fink does a laudable Jeff Mangum impression and the band seamlessly transition poppy, clackity choruses with solemn, melancholic interludes much like their more celebrated colleagues. Yet amidst Noah and the Whale's undeniable tendency to "borrow musical ideas" from their contemporaries, they manage to maintain a relative distinctiveness in their sound; proving to be both familiar and idiosyncratic at the same time. 'Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down' almost-successfully embodies the witless praise that swarms around it, coming dangerously close to becoming a classic in it's respective genre -- close, but no cigar.

Fairly eclectic in it's presentation, 'Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down' owes much of it's charm and appeal to the heterogeneous instrumentation that accompanies it: ukuleles, whistling, tambourines, flutes, and perhaps most importantly, a fiddle sum up the peaceable running time of the record. In songs such as the soberly dour title track and the shape-shifting 'Rocks and Daggers', their immensely Celtic influence - worn proudly on their sleeve - is aurally supplied by fiddler Tom Hobden, instantly making the quartet's sound unique and creative all at once. As if he found a garden of eccentricity and began uprooting and munching on the carrots of quirkiness, vocalist and guitarist Charlie Fink guides the stringed assault with his unorthodox and slightly unsteady voice, managing to sound completely sincere and emotive while maintaining legibility and melody. Existing in perfect parity with the carrots of quirkiness are Fink's zucchinis of zaniness: his lyrics. Falling somewhere in between the blurry lines of irrational brilliance and poppycock blather, Fink musters all of his carroty dedication into delivering lines like "Just a sad pathetic moan/And maybe I just need change/Maybe I just need a new cologne" or "There’ll be love in the bodies of the elephants too/and I’ll put my hands over your eyes, but you’ll peek through" with surprising lucidity.

Perhaps the record's most lovable facet is it's replay value: 'Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down' doesn't spoil itself by repetition or lack of variation; it churns with multiple emotions, multiple styles and multiple influences. Before tiring out a certain niche of their ever-expanding sound, they hop a different train and whiz off in the opposite direction -- luckily, these are relatively mellow and slow trains, so the motion-sickness commonly associated with ADD-songwriting is left at the train station. Tripe-tastic metaphors aside, the eventual result of amalgamating these contrasting elements and influences together is somewhat brilliant: Noah and the Whale's debut is brimming with eccentricity, paradoxical moods and quirky instrumentation; a near-flawless indie-rock record with a lopsided heart and a parasitic stomach. Through it's imperfections and through it's adorability, 'Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down' is communicative, addictive and absolutely recommended -- I don't mention carrots, zucchinis and train stations for just any album.



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user ratings (117)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
August 10th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh hey british music, oh hey this review talks about vegetables pos

But really, I like this. Waior hype.

Digging: Hey Rosetta! - Second Sight

YouAreMySilence
August 10th 2009


3727 Comments


This is what they call the Waior-bump
Good review as always, sounds like something I would not enjoy.
I may give this a listen when I'm done switching from Pilot Speed to Year Of No Light and back again but probably won't.

Avirov
August 10th 2009


1206 Comments


recommended by reviewer
Neutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Arcade Fire Neon Bible
The New Pornographers Twin Cinema
More Obscure Indie My Girlfriend Likes


Nice touch. I'll definitely grab this, excellent review.

Douglas
August 10th 2009


9118 Comments


Would I like this?
I think I will. Solid review.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


15743 Comments


My girlfriend likes this too.

I don't

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
August 10th 2009


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ughhh more music to listen to

Waior
August 10th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think it's pretty amicable. Thanks for the feedback.

Roach
August 10th 2009


2148 Comments


My girlfriend likes this too.

I don't


Typical Adam Downer.


Waior
August 10th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Typical boyfriend with superior taste.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


15743 Comments


Typical Adam Downer.


im sorry who're you

Roach
August 10th 2009


2148 Comments


Hi I'm Kane Cooper formerly gaslightanthem and everyone thinks that my name is Stanley and I have only done three reviews. In short I am a liar.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


15743 Comments


caleb, I think you'd like the Envy Corps, they're pretty jovial harmless indie pop. look up "story problem"

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


15743 Comments


Hi I'm Kane Cooper formerly gaslightanthem and everyone thinks that my name is Stanley and I have only done three reviews. In short I am a liar.


oh then we're cool

Roach
August 10th 2009


2148 Comments


oh then we're cool


Hear hear!



robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


15052 Comments


stop reviewing so much stuff i need to listen to great another album to the list

Waior
August 10th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hi I'm Kane Cooper formerly gaslightanthem and everyone thinks that my name is Stanley and I have only done three reviews. In short I am a liar.


My universe, shattered. Didn't predict that one.

caleb, I think you'd like the Envy Corps, they're pretty jovial harmless indie pop. look up "story problem"


I'll take you up on that, I suppose I'm enjoying the indie pop hole I'm digging myself. Thanks for the recommendation.

stop reviewing so much stuff i need to listen to great another album to the list


I'll start reviewing metalcore again just for you. Haha

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


10499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this CD rules, i interviewed this band last year. nice review pos

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

Matte
August 10th 2009


546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, great album. Nice job Caleb!

joshuatree
Emeritus
August 10th 2009


3742 Comments


Hi I'm Kane Cooper formerly gaslightanthem and everyone thinks that my name is Stanley and I have only done three reviews. In short I am a liar.


i recently suspected this now i'm sorry i said you wrote a good review

Roach
August 10th 2009


2148 Comments


hahahaha

I thought we were buddies 4 life.



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