Laura has said she felt more ownership of the album than of her debut.
Opener and title track "The First Days of Spring" feels immediately less claustrophobic and plink-by-numbers than nearly anything on their debut, little more than strings and twangy guitar and sparingly used tympani bobbing and sweling under Fink's mournful pipes.
All these tunes consisting of little more than splashes of piano and guitar, a little percussion clatter, and Fink's front-and-center vocals are quite some change from the whirlygiggery that made Peaceful so tiring.
“The pre- stuff just makes me full of an incredibly deep self-loathing now. How much of herself does she want to put across in her lyrics?
“Not an awful lot you know, as much as you try you can’t write about anything else but yourself because that’s all you know.
"My Broken Heart" has a rangy Neil Youngish quality to it that stands a bit above the din around the rest of the album, but like its predecessors, it doesn't offer too much but platitudes-- "broken hearts are a fickle thing and complicated, too," or, "I need your light in my life, need your light," that sort of thing.
Still, it's a valiant effort at finding meaning in the face of all the silly stuff from Peaceful, and the bare sentiment could be suited worse to the spare, sullen music."Blue Skies", "Slow Glass", and "My Door Is Always Open" stick to the guitar-and-echoey-atmospherics theme; "Blue Skies" has an almost Calexico-like quality to it, "Slow Glass" sounds like Low, but these arrangements are pretty much stock-and-trade mood-streak rock, nothing that hasn't stood out of the way of better lyrics many times before.Still, the uniform dishwater feel of the music fits the Xanax-ed sentiments of the lyrics.You never learn much of the particulars of what happened between Fink and Marling-- all you feel is that stuff sucks now more than before.As a lyricist, Fink's too reliant on indistinct yearn, and while you might relate to some of Spring's bummed-out bromide, Fink's moping seems too scopic to hit anyone very deep for very long. It works okay in such a small dose, but it'd be strangely placed virtually anywhere on the LP, and while it's a sad song, the fluttery strings create an odd mood shift.