Single Review: Noah And The Whale – ‘Life Is Life’

“‘Life Is Life’ masterfully holds this depth as well as sounding delightfully summery and upbeat”


Digital Release: August 8, 2011

Physical Release: August 9, 2011

Noah And The Whale may have burst haphazard and unprepared onto the music scene in 2007 and enjoyed the momentary success that ‘5 Years Time’ brought them, but since then their musical merit has soared. And on new single ‘Life Is Life’, we plunge headfirst into their matured musicianship. It’s clever music; that kind that fails to permeate public awareness these days. 

Noah And The Whale have always been content with the fact that they’re the kind of alternative folk-pop band whose music finds itself at home accompanying the end credits of offbeat British rom-coms like Juno or (500) Days of Summer, in which precocious and socially inept white nerds like serial offender Michael Cera learn life lessons via deadpan whimsy, oddball romances and gentle indie-rock. Possibly because the band themselves are rather precocious and deal in music that can be summed up with any number of ‘oddball’ adjectives and is, above all other things, a series of life lessons that lead singer Charlie Fink has learnt. Previous singles ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.’ and ‘Tonight’s The Kind Of Night’ demonstrate spectacular growth from the laments of a lovelorn life on second album ‘The First Days Of Spring’, and new single – the third from ‘Last Night On Earth’ – ‘Life Is Life’ further illustrates Charlie’s uncannily astute eye for human foibles and his gloriously poetic admonishments of the fundamentals of life and love.

“Left his house at midnight, resolute and young/In search of something greater than the person he’d become”, Charlie sings, amongst sonic, swirling synth loops, chiming piano and backed up by a choir. It’s his delicate precision that remains unphased by the lushness of the production and refrains from becoming cloying by his deliberately spacious restraint among such driven melodies that make ‘Life Is Life’ what it is. Charlie may hone the song to exactly what the listener requires, but not once does he forget to allow the song to breathe in it’s own right – it feels as open and as free as the man Charlie sings of, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable listen from start to finish.

Much the same as the title track of their second album, ‘Life Is Life’ is about rebirth. And some songwriters who’ve had unfortunate run-ins with life can often unintentionally patronise or even bore their listeners at the acuity of their observations and the keenness of their pain. But Noah And The Whale have perfected the balance and ‘Life Is Life’ masterfully holds this depth as well as sounding delightfully summery, uplifting and upbeat – in a warming, refreshing way thanks to Fink’s unrefined voice sounding as gorgeous as the production that envelops him; not in that empty, emotional vacuum-like quality that most self-proclaiming ‘summer anthems’ have.


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