Noah And The Whale Break The Surface

by JA / Marcus Gilmer SOURCE AV Club
Photo Credit: Noah And The Whales

Sweet and sour: the oldest trick in the book. Just ask Uncle Ben. And if soft-hearted London folkies Noah And The Whale aren’t quite as deft with savory rice, they’ve got the knack of balancing heart-melting, pupil-dilating ditties with words of chill bleakness down pat.

After the twee-folk of its first two albums, Noah & The Whale winningly shifts gears with the glimmering synth-pop of The Last Night On Earth. The change is evident immediately on the opener, “Life Is Life,” with staccato keyboard lines and machine-gun drum-machine beats marking a definitive departure from the handclaps of Noah & The Whale’s 2007 breakout hit, “Five Years Time.” From there, The Last Night On Earth opens up even wider, with “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” bursting to life with throbbing rhythms and chiming guitars as frontman Charlie Fink croons, “You’ve got heart / and you’re going your own way.”

Fans of the old Noah & The Whale get some respite on “Waiting For My Chance To Come,” which opens with an acoustic guitar part lifted from “Solsbury Hill” before driving to a rousing classic-rock climax. The Last Night On Earth might leave some of Noah & The Whale’s old audience behind, but the band appears to be headed in the right direction.