Album Review
Noah and the Whale - Last Night on Earth Album Cover

Noah and the Whale - Last Night on Earth

Reviewed by
Noah and the WhaleLast Night on Earth
Record Label: Mercury Records
Release Date: March 7, 2011
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
There’s something very ominous about naming your third album Last Night on Earth. Fans of Charlie Fink and his sometimes-dreary, sometimes-cheery folk outfit Noah and the Whale could interpret such a title as a sign of the band’s forthcoming demise. Or maybe it’s just a title; just an outlook on what we’ll do when that fateful evening comes. But to me, our Last Night on Earth is meant to be a happy one. And on album centerpiece “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.,” it’s clear Fink feels the same way. Atop meandering guitar and a cutesy backing choir, he muses, “On my last night on Earth / I won’t look to the sky / Just breathe in the air / And blink in the light.” What will happen will. And what didn’t isn’t worth a thought. Not exactly Eureka!-type sentiments, but they are still important ones to remember.

While fans of the band’s previous albums might find fault in Last Night on Earth’s less cluttered, electronica-tinged songwriting, it is Fink’s simple songs and flexible voice that carry the most enjoyment. On the uplifting Brit-pop of “Life is Life” we hear, “Gonna change his ways / And it feels like his new life can start / And it feels like Heaven.” Now if that isn’t a wonderful way to start a record, I don’t know what is. Especially after some of the downers the band has penned previously (“2 Atoms in a Molecule” or “My Door Is Always Open”, for example).

But this is Fink we’re talking about. His life through song is never perfect. However, now there are songs like “Old Joy:” a slow, piano-heavy ballad that is both sad and extremely optimistic. That song contains both the line, “Tall buildings and a wife won’t be enough for me,” and also, “There is more in the world to be found than dreams.” There’s a strength in Fink’s voice now, one that seems to imply that he’s not only growing up but growing better. “Old Joy” is one of those songs that closes one door and opens another. Another introspective, Interpol-esque track, “Wild Thing” is an intelligent upswing for the group. Rather than the simple woe-is-me-isms that we became enamored with on The First Days of Spring, “Wild Thing” uses storytelling enriched with beautiful imagery (“There’s eyes behind the curtains and there’s ears below the floor / Cracks inside the ceiling and there’s shadows at the door”). We’re lead through like a novel rather than being told how to feel.

So although Last Night on Earth is a new, and for the most part, completely different type of Noah and the Whale album, it is still a worthy statement. Short and mostly bittersweet, it mixes the upbeat (“Just Before We Met”) with somber electronic fare (“The Line”) without sacrificing cohesion. And while the band is transforming its sound, it’s not altogether clear as to where the next album will go. But with Fink at the helm, we can be sure it will put real life through the magnifying glass and teach us all, one way or another, a lesson.

RIYL: I'm From Barcelona, The Decemberists, a less theatrical Arcade Fire

Friends and familywww.myspace.com/noahandthewhale
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 20
11:06 AM on 03/13/11
Burnette Drive
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simplejack's Avatar
I like this and TFDOS in two different ways, as they represent two different states of mind, this is more joyful and with a more sing-like-it's-the-last-song-you-will-ever-sing and live-like-it's-the-last-day-you-will-ever-live attitude and Charlie's voice is incredible, didn't know it would've fit in a more electronic-based record.
11:24 AM on 03/13/11
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withgreetings's Avatar
I love this band and I love all their records! :)
12:04 PM on 03/13/11
Up all night, and down all day
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thesollopsist's Avatar
I was really disappointeed by this.
01:25 PM on 03/13/11
Eight miles high and falling fast
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Memphis's Avatar
I'll give it another listen, but so far, it's really boring. Perhaps, i was expecting something else...
03:12 PM on 03/13/11
Every Never Is Now
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kennedyAM's Avatar
I'll give it another listen, but so far, it's really boring. Perhaps, i was expecting something else...
I agree. Not as good as The First Days of Spring.
02:08 AM on 03/14/11
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Paulb-182's Avatar
Love this album.
02:19 AM on 03/14/11
Sinatra blue
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blinkme's Avatar
The three albums feel like a transition of a relationship to me. It's nice to hear some optimistic material from these guys for a change. Solid album and nice review.
02:52 AM on 03/14/11
the other Kyle.
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MorningStar10's Avatar
Great album and progression from 'first days of spring', 'Give it all back' is a standout tune.
03:27 AM on 03/14/11
she sucked and sucked and sucked.
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OnaedInSpace's Avatar
lol at the less theatrical Arcade Fire in the RIYL
08:19 AM on 03/14/11
You can't afford to live like this
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stonecoldfox's Avatar
I can't wait to hear this, but I'm holding out for the physical release tomorrow.
08:49 AM on 03/14/11
miss the stop sign, fall in love
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milli626's Avatar
just recently discovered this band. i cant stop listening.
12:34 PM on 03/14/11
I believe. Help my unbelief.
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pleasedontpanic's Avatar
I absolutely love this album. I feel like it's a more coherent piece than The First Day of Spring, though TFDOS has my favorite songs by them.
01:10 PM on 03/14/11
Never too fat to fly
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apresnuledeluge's Avatar
I'll be checking this out as soon as possible. Their previous effort was a huge sleeper for me.
02:41 PM on 03/14/11
awake my old dry bones.
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whiterussian's Avatar
How does the album compare to the single? (lifegoeson)
I wasn't very much into it.

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