The First Days of Spring (Bonus Track Version)
Rarely have violins been used to such goosebump-raising effect as they are on the opening song of this stunning soundtrack to what was surely an epic break-up. The First Days of Spring is the rare killer sophomore release that shows a band clearly in charge of its artistic development. The set’s architecture mimics the emotional stages of a broken heart, and though the elegant first three tracks (acceptance, loneliness) are hard to beat, one track sequence in particular — four through seven — is particularly effective. Floor toms, violins and shakers converge in quiet elegy on “My Broken Heart,” which ends with ruptured, howling guitars, but two brief instrumentals bookend the determinedly optimistic and joyful, choir-driven “Love of an Orchestra.” After a misstep in the name of healing (“Stranger”), our protagonist partakes in more optimism (“Blue Skies”), engages in deep soul-searching (“Slow Glass”), and finally accepts the situation’s inevitable denouement (“My Door Is Always Open”). For those romantic shipwrecks that lie ahead, The First Days of Spring may offer not only solace, but some profoundly enjoyable listening as well.