Counting folk starlet Laura Marling amongst your former members isn't something that many new bands can do - but when you're Noah and the Whale, it's simply a minor detail of your history. It helps, of course, that lead Whale Charlie Fink is the young Marling's former beau and produced her own acclaimed debut 'Alas I Can't Swim', and Marling returns the favour by contributing to several tracks here.
But a band who take their name from a composite of kooky director Noah Baumbach and one of his films, The Squid and the Whale? The 'scenester' alarms were ominously trilling before London-based foursome had released a single note of music. Thankfully, all fears are quelled with their eponymous debut, an easygoing miscellany of folk flavourings that, for the most part, work.
The lively Rocks and Daggers and Shape of My Heart are immediately likeable, both showcasing Fink's demure quasi-baritone to conspicuous effect (although his lack of variation does grate after a time), while the obvious standout, 5 Years' Time, is a brilliant, summer-tinted pop gem - not least due to Marling's songbird vocal backing.
There's a lot to like here, although it's easy to see why Noah and the Whale's initial singles were successful - as a band, they've yet to master the skill of diversity within their own sound, and their music is perhaps most effective when listened to in short, sharp bursts. Perhaps not a total Killer, then, but something tells me Whale meet this lot again.