With their fourth album Heart of Nowhere, Noah and the Whale seem to have finally found their groove. The band have drifted from whimsy folk tunes to painfully melancholic heartbreak; finally reaching the synth clad pop-rock of their last album Last Night on Earth.
This new record feels more stripped back, exposing an eclectic assortment of instruments while grasping a slick, polished confidence and sharpness that equals their pristine suits. Charlie Fink once again draws us in to his emotional maelstrom, this time taking us on a nostalgic escapade. Peering over his shoulder at moments of regret and snapshots of hope; he ponders his teenage past with wise reflection.
The playful pattering of xylophones in the intro promises an uplifting tone to the album and it doesn’t disappoint. The title track Heart of Nowhere gloriously follows this, enclosing a sublime fusion of buoyant strings with the sophisticated vocal of the once Mercury-nominated Anna Calvi, which produces an exhilarating moment of finesse. All Through The Night equally captures attention, with a slight nod to 80s New Wave and a lively guitar solo to match.
The songs at the centre of the album, are unfortunately a little too forgettable, Silver and Gold and One More Night being regrettably overshadowed by the undoubted crowd-pleaser of There Will Come A Time. Harbouring staccato guitars and a pulsing bass, the welcomed change of pace, stands out from the soothing lull of the previous songs, possessing an inescapably addictive chant of ‘there will come a time, when you will need your friends tonight.’ The album closes on a delicately mellow lullaby, drifting fondly to the end, having travelled through memories of lost love and the importance of friendship.
The album showcases Fink’s masterful lyricism, yet again crafting honest and relatable songs but does require a few plays before you really starting forming an emotional attachment to it. Having waited for two years since their last album, the stripped back live quality to this sweet reminisce serves them well and this establishes it as one of their best.