Sure, it’s as lyrically blatant as Britney’s ‘Oops I Did It Again’, but the band’s sonic revelations will have you salivating over the cheesiest of lines.
Noah & the Whale have shifted between optimistic windows-down singalongs to morose breakup sea shanties and the apathetic sangfroid of their previous album Last Night on Earth, but the Londoners’ latest release, Heart of Nowhere, sees Charlie Fink and co. playing the pedagogic card – they want to teach you something.
Album opener ‘Introduction’ pits a sharp marimba melody against soaring strings, tapping into the band’s folk origins and crafting a raw soundscape that lacks the to-the-millisecond production of previous efforts.
In the title-track, Anna Calvi lends her impeccably controlled vocals to the muted guitar riff, which pulses infectiously as she and Fink muse, “There’s just two kinds of people / The god-fearing or the godless.” ‘All Through the Heart’ edges towards 80s pop-rock panache, with hefty reverb and pitter-patter drums that pay homage to Fleetwood Mac.
‘Silver and Gold’ is heavy with solid vocal hooks, dainty keyboards, lithe hi-hat hits and blues-inflected guitar solos, as Fink croons didactically, “Don’t look for perfection / Love pushes all that away,” in his gentle baritone. ‘Now is Exactly the Time’ is an ode to forgiveness, and the triumphant album closer ‘Not Too Late’ is another middle finger to creative song titles.
And of course, in true indie style, the band has coupled the release of their fourth album with a short dystopian film where teenagers ruin the world and are banished to Teenageland (so don’t expect any all ages shows any time soon).
BY MINA KITSOS
Heart of Nowhere is out now through Universal.