Last Night on Earth by Noah and the Whale
Over the past few years Noah and the Whale have matured quite a bit. They’ve gone from making ultra-bouncy folk pop (5 years time) on their debut, to a sort of melancholic ‘Free Fallinesque’ Tom Petty type sound on their most recent release “Last Night On Earth”. I’m not sure if the shift was a conscious decision to be taken more seriously, or if it was just good old fashioned age, but the band now sports a very polished and more ‘grown up’ sound.
On “Last Night On Earth” Noah and the Whale show that they are especially adept at blending traditional elements with electronic notes. The results are subtle, but add an element of grace to a sound that was previously pretty childish (although still enjoyable). Aside from the surprising vocal similarities to the a fore mentioned Petty, the London based folk group also seems to share his same knack for memorable/powerful hooks. While there might not be anything that ‘sticks’ quite as hard as “Free Fallin” or “Learning to Fly”, “Last Night on Earth” is not without it’s moments. The nearly impossible to repeat acronym laden chorus in “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N” is reassuring and actually uplifting, a surprising trait that most of the tracks on the album share.
“Left his house at midnight, resolute and young. In search of something greater than the person he’d become”
Most of the songs are in the format of a brief third person narrative of people coming to some turning point in their life. It’s a fairly sappy song writing formula, but maybe because the band is just so darn charming, it’s a method that works time and time again on “Last Night on Earth”. Although still certainly not ‘high brow’ music by a lot of people’s standards, I think Noah and the Whale deliver an updated brand of folk that a lot of people (myself included) will find speaks to them.
Last Night On Earth: 4.5 out of 5