Noah and the Whale: Last Night on Earth (Island Def Jam) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Noah and the Whale

Last Night on Earth

Island Def Jam

Apr 07, 2011 Issue #35 - Winter 2011 - Death Cab for Cutie Bookmark and Share


At least no one can accuse Noah and the Whale of making the same album twice. The band's 2008 debut was a somewhat schizophrenic album about love and loss, notable for the jumpy single "5 Years Time," which featured whistling and lyrics about frolicking around the zoo. A year later, the band released The First Days of Spring, which featured the band moving toward string orchestrations and a more cinematic scope (the album came coupled with a film). And now, Last Night on Earth is yet another left turn, eschewing the textures of the past two works in favor of jumpy, ultra melodic and synth-enhanced pop music.

The album opens with "Life Is Life," which only can be described as an electro-pop jam: happy in a very '80s way, synthesized, über melodic, and filled with choral backing. Immediately following is "Tonight's the Kind of Night," which is piano led, utterly upbeat, and filled with overt and unbridled optimism. "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N." finds the band taking a page from the Hall & Oates and John Mellencamp books of chorus writing, and kind of sounds like what Noah and the Whale might be like if the band wrote and recorded all their songs while on ecstasy. "Just Me Before We Met" features an electronic beat and in-your-face string orchestration. And the album's closer, "Old Joy" is full-on gospel, featuring backing choir.

It's a big leap for sure, and fans of Noah and the Whale's first two albums will be taken aback. But Last Night is very difficult to dislike. Yes, there's not a whole lot of subtlety here, in music or in verse. But the album almost challenges you not to sing along. The vibe is unified and the band is never embarrassed to lay things on thick. To wit, Last Night is tailor made to be a guilty pleasure album. And, in this case, that is not a bad thing. (www.noahandthewhale.com

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