Formerly the twee-est band in Twickenham, Noah and the Whale have noticeably grown from album to album. The polo shirts and ukuleles have stayed tucked away in the closet of the past for this record which builds almost seamlessly from ‘Last Night On Earth’.
While the title of ‘Heart of Nowhere’ may imply that chief writer Charlie Fink is back to his bleakest, there is a suggestion that he may just be ready to let a lady back into his life. He’s certainly ready to let one back in the band for the first time since ‘Peaceful The World Lays Me Down’ in 2008 as Anna Calvi provides vocals on the title track.
As a complete piece, this album isn’t a million miles away from the radio-friendly indie pop trailed by ‘Last Night On Earth’. The third party Springsteen-esque tales of teenage romance are gone although the pseudo East Coast sound remains with tracks like ‘Lifetime’ also borrowing heavily from the Tom Petty sound. It’s much more measured and personal album this time around. Fink appears to be dealing well with his demons, finding high hopes as he hits some unusually big notes in ‘Still After All These Years’.
The names and stories vary from track to track. We may be none the wiser as to who Jennifer or Lisa are but the names are unimportant. It’s the optimism and damn catchy pop tunes that make this a great summer record.