Noah And The Whale, ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.’

Noah And The Whale

Behind all the soft-pedal vulnerability of Noah And The Whale, there’s a ruthless core. How else would you explain a creative trajectory from folky tweeness to panoramic country-rock to FM drivetime over a piddling three albums? That rat Fink knows where he’s headed, but do we? I imagine it depends on Last Night On Earth’s eventual success. If Springsteen-lite gets the tills ringing, perhaps he’ll settle down.

After the unfocused Peaceful, He Lays Me Down and lovelorn First Days Of Spring, the latest is the least challenging of NATW’s albums, a robust chunk of pop that sounds great on the radio. This lead single uses an old trick – ‘D.I.V.O.R.C.E.’, ‘Y.M.C.A.’, ‘L.O.V.E.’ etc – to get a point across in the catchiest way possible. It’s a cheap hook (and few things are more effective than a cheap hook), and a message that continues Fink’s personal story, letting us know he’s moving on from his cri de coeur over Laura Marling. That’s good news for her too; few women in pop have had to endure so much embarrassment, from a whole album mooning over her, to her next beau’s stupid moustache.

Speaking of which, did you hear the one about Laura Marling and the posh bloke with the silly voice? No, the other one…

“Is this your favourite?” Junior asks, because she’s heard me singing it over and over, because I can’t help it, because it carves its own cranny in your brain. I just tell her I can’t help it. She gives the song the wishy-washy thumbs and I wonder where it falls down. “Because it spells it.” The hook’s too cheap for some.

[8] Noah And The Whale, ‘Blue Skies (YACHT Remix)’

Everyone loves a good volte-face in music, particularly when it’s a rather wacky folk-pop outfit deciding to ditch the jarring ditties in favour of widescreen heartbreak-infused indie-country-soul. So imagine the world’s delight when Laura Marling dumped chief Noah head Charlie Fink, forcing him to lick his wounds and make an excellent album detailing his “I’m fine, really. Really, I am. OK, I’m not. But I will be” stance. That’s what The First Days Of Spring turned out to be, and lead single ‘Blue Skies’ was its ray of hope.

But we’re concerned with YACHT’s remix here. The DFA crew took Noah And The Whale’s big music, stripped it back and turned it Balearic – yet still retained the beaten-and-bruised hopefulness of the source material. Junior does jazz hands to it, and a lengthy impersonation of one squeaky vocal effect, sweetly undercutting any grand moodiness. I play her the original too, which she describes as “mad”. It’s what this blog’s all about: an unfathomable perspective.

This is a song for anyone with a broken heart: