Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down

Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down

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.

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