Review: Noah and the Whale – ‘Last Night on Earth’

Originally published for IAreYeti.

If ‘First Days of Spring’ was Charlie Fink’s break-up album, then ‘Last Night on Earth’ proves that he is most definitely ready to move on, as has been made abundantly clear by the title of lead single, ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.’. With references to life and change being thrown around right, left and centre, Noah and the Whale have, undoubtedly, turned a corner with their latest album. Gone are the days of the soft, emotional vocals and arrangements of the last album; instead there are upbeat melodies and big, catchy choruses. Whether the change in mood is genuine or contrived, ‘Last Night on Earth’ makes for one of the most uplifting albums of the year.

The general tone of the album is set straight away with the opening track ‘Life Is Life’, which tells a story of a man ready to “change his ways” and move on with his life. This theme is continued in to the following two tracks, ‘Tonight’s the Kind of Night’ and ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.’, as well as being prominent throughout the album. At times, the band almost seem to revisit the sound of their last album, particularly on ‘Wild Thing’ and ‘The Line’, which both have slower melodies and much deeper vocals than the other tracks on the album.

Perhaps one of the biggest differences lyrically on certain tracks is the story-telling style of song writing Fink seems to have adopted. While on the last album, the lyrics were written mostly in first-person and seemed a lot more personal, some of the songs on this album seem to centre around one particular character. However, there is a sense that Fink is just using this character to hide behind sometimes, so as to create a bit of distance and avoid completely divulging his emotions.

Probably the best thing about Noah and the Whale is that you can’t really compare them to any other bands around at the moment because, although they are considered to have played a large role in the recent ‘folk-pop’ revival, they have a much more unique sound than many other bands in their genre. They haven’t reproduced the same clichéd, banjo-fuelled folk album and, instead, have experimented with different accompaniments and arrangements, while still staying true to the band’s sound. Because of this, they have proved themselves to be a very credible band, worthy of their recent success.

Overall Rating: 3/5

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