Noah and the Whale

Union Pool; Tue 16
Sidewalk Café; Sept 18
Virgin Megastore Union Square; Sept 19
Mercury Lounge; Sept 19

Noah and the Whale derives its name from The Squid and the Whale—the Noah in question being director Baumbach—and draws inspiration from a movement that art historians may one day recognize as American Precious. Whereas a U.S. band might shy away from such conspicuous quaintness, the London quartet is fearless in its pursuit of cute. Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down (Cherrytree/Interscope), its debut album, features delicate instrumental touches, with gentle percussion and ragtag horns. The crux is Charlie Fink, a talented singer-songwriter (and the producer of Laura Marling’s Alas I Cannot Swim) who vocalizes with the aching intensity of a man still in touch with adolescence. For all its fondness for American culture, Noah and the Whale plays New York for the first time this week; will the city meet the band’s expectations?