Review Summary: Noah and the Whale move on.
Noah and the Whale has been around since 2006, dropping a total of two albums, both significantly different than the other, but both incredible pieces of art. Overall Noah and the Whale has seen much popularity and many critical reviews. Their first album, “Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down” was a big success, singing about love in a kind of lackadaisical way. The follow-up album, "The First Days of Spring," was the result of a break-up between front man Charlie Fink and backing vocalist Laura Marling. The album came with a cinema to go along with it. In 2011 quite ironically in five years’ time since the band formed, Noah and the Whale have brought out a third and once again significantly different album. The lyrical focus of the album has changed once again and this time is centered Fink’s on the post-break up phase. This has made the album considerably more up-beat than “The First Days of Spring”, centering on the newfound freedom that is found in singlehood, with a scattering of songs about past frivolities. The biggest change to their sound is found in the newly added synthesizer and percussion aspects of it. The album as a whole is a lot more percussion driven than either of their previous records. Whereas the synthesizer has added a whole new perspective for Noah and the Whale, in some places adding positively to their music, but also giving it a cheaper feel in some songs.
One of the cheapest parts on the album is not from a synth though. In the song, “Tonight's The Kind Of Night” Noah and the Whale use the exact same piano riff as British rock band The Who in Baba O Reily. One of the best songs on the album though, is without a doubt “Wild Thing.” The song follows a wild girl who seems to be somewhat of a forest dweller outcast from a small town and his inter-actions with her. Probably the worst song on the album follows directly after this strange but beautiful song. The song “Give It All Back,” just doesn’t fit on the album. The song relies heavily on an electric guitar and lyrically breaks from the “moving-on” theme of the album to reminisce in the past. Fink sings about how he was in a two bit high school outcast rock band called the Devil Playhouse. “The Last Night on Earth” finishes with two of its strongest songs; “The Line” and “Old Joy,” apart from the added synths, remind the listener most of previous two albums. “Thin Line,” describes at a girl presumably asking about the cause of a break up, “Is this the line between heaven and hell/Is this the line where I get up and walk out?/Is this the line where you get drunk you yell?" The choral aspect that drove so well the song “Love of an Orchestra” in “The First Days of Spring” returns in the chorus of “Old Joy” and helps to bring about a really musically and emotionally satisfying closing lyric: “forget the things that get away/don't dream of yesterday.”
“The Last Night on Earth” is probably the most unique of all three albums. That being said it’s probably the worst out of the three albums; however, it is still a good album. What many “Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down” album lovers would see as a downside is that Noah and the Whale has clearly moved on, and isn’t going back to previous musical styles. However I would like to point out that the best aspects of Noah and the Whale is that they are doing exactly what indie music critics and lovers want indie bands to do: not selling out to produce music for the crowd. Noah and the Whale is telling a story of the band, and we’re in for the ride.