Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Album Review: Noah And The Whale - Last Night On Earth

Released: March 7th
Label: Mercury Records

When Noah And The Whale arrived with their first hit there was doubts on how long they'd last. Whilst Charlie Fink pondered if his relationship would last for five years (it wouldn't) critics expected NATW to be flash-in-the-pan folkies. One hit blunders. For those that still had thoughts of the kind after sombre pop masterpice The First Days Of Spring Noah And The Whale have iron-clad proof that they're actually a pretty classic band.

Let's get this straight. As pop albums that are aimed at a mainstream audience go, Last Night On Earth is the best one for a very long time. And that's not something I'll say lightly.

You've heard mega-hit 'L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.' by now and will therefore have a flavour of what Noah And The Whale are offering with the album. A departure from their folkie roots it matches Fink's character based song-writing with traditional pop sounds and indie rock guitars. Yes, at times it recalls The Kinks or Tom Petty, but the classic melody and soaring nostalgia ensure that it feels very vital.

In fact, reminiscing is the key to the emotive hook across the breadth of the record with 'Give It All Back' being the best example. Recalling childhoods of long evenings and limitless futures it stakes one hell of a claim to being the best song on a very strong album. 'Wild Thing' meanwhile condenses the aural touchstones of chilwave into something that actually achieves it's emotional objectives. Hazy and summery it years for summer whilst looking to the past. The chiming guitar interrupting throughout serving to expand the glistening sonic scope.

For an album that feels very concise and cohesive, deconstruction seems to reveal that everything's been thrown at the wall on Last Night On Earth. 'Tonight's The Kind Of Night' and 'Old Joy' make excellent use of gospel choirs whilst the gorgeous 'Paradise Stars' is a synth and piano interlude of only 90 seconds that re-imagines M83 for warm suburban sunsets. 'Just Me Before We Met' manages to both recall the more tender moments of First Days Of Spring whilst shrugging off the heartbroken persona and 'Waiting For My Chance To Come' is one of the most hopeful moments that's been committed to record in the past few years.

Basically, this is a triumphant album that means three for three for Noah And The Whale. They've created a complete record of anthems that are accessible and universal whilst being warm and intimate. Each song is one to be sang across festivals in the summer heat and to be listened to in the quiet moments at home either in those relaxing alone moments or when cuddling up to yr partner.

Put simply, this album is exquisite.

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