Noah and the Whale is an indie folk band from London, England that consists of Charlie Fink (vocals, guitar), Tom Hobden (violin/keyboard), Michael Petulla (drums), Fred Abbott (guitar/keyboard) and Matt Owens (bass). They made their break into the folk scene in 2008 with their hit single “5 Years Time.” They have since released four albums including their newest, “Heart of Nowhere.”
“Heart of Nowhere” begins with an ethereal introduction, naturally titled “Introduction” that utilizes the keyboard and violin. It resembles the song “Paradise Stars” from their last album, “Last Night On Earth” which was also a solely instrumental transition that set a tone for the entire album.
Next “Heart of Nowhere” which is both the title and their first single off the album, picks up speed and includes catchy melodies by violinist, Tom Hobden. Then the calming voice of Charlie Fink sets in and it sounds like a traditional Noah and the Whale summer jam. It tells the story of running away from home and away from the life you know and taking a chance on a girl named Sarah. It’s an overdone concept with refreshing new life that includes back vocals from Anna Calvi. “Your parents hide, they live in fear. They’re lying restless, as the dawn comes near. But you want to live, you want to try. You hear a whisper of the world outside.” It’s something everyone can relate to and has probably experienced at some point in their youth.
“All Through the Night” begins with nostalgic 80’s bass lines and breaks into more of a rock and roll guitar with distortion sound in between verses. The vocals are pushed back more than their usual style but blends well with the song.
“Lifetime” talks about two people drifting apart in life and ending up in two different places in their lives. “We grew up, drifted apart, now you’re getting married While I’m waiting for my life to start.” It’s very reminiscent and breaks up the song with a choppier violin melody.
“Silver and Gold” speaks to those undecided on a direction in life when Fink says “But it’s okay to not always be sure exactly where you want to go and love may not be the cure, that’s something I’ll never know.” This song plays on the theme the album seems to carry throughout: the passing of time. It has an overall nostalgic vibe. However, this song is both reassuring of the present and hopeful for the future.
“One More Night” seems to slow down the passing of time and imagine a night in the future that will never happen. It is again the story of a love lost this time a woman with the name “Jennifer.” The story goes “I only left 6 months ago, now, and you’re wearing his ring. It’s like it all, never happened, like it didn’t mean a thing.” Rhythm mixes in beats on what sounds like bongos to create an overall optimistic feel and towards the end we hear a keyboard cameo to switch it up.
“Still After All These Years” carries yet another name, “Lisa” which was also used in their previous album in the song “LI.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” This song is once again speaking of the past “And I think still after all these years. Oh, I think still after all these years. Something still burns,” but seems to carry a happier tone due to the upbeat quality that resembles a vibe similar to the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”
“There Will Come a Time” is the kind of song that everyone wants clap their hands along to and belt the chorus out with their friends. It is another catchy tune with an 80’s air that celebrates friendship and getting through difficult times.
“Now Is Exactly the Time” stops the ever present and repetitive theme of looking into the past and changes the mood of the album. It advises “Oh, and now is exactly the time to turn your head from the past.” They continue to offer advice about forgiveness and moving on and bring listeners back to the present.
“Not Too Late” completes the album with a simple tune about finding your own path in life. However, the rest of the album seems so meticulously and effectively placed that it seems odd for “Heart of Nowhere” to end on this lackluster note.
“Heart of Nowhere” is entertaining but not surprising to any Noah and the Whale fan. The album as a whole is very similar to their typical sound but impeccably produced and carries the perfect sentimental ambience for the fall season.