Single Review: Noah And The Whale – ‘Waiting For My Chance To Come’

“Like a camera lens focusing on some form of glitzy American dream littered with obstacles and cautionary pit-stops”

3 STARS

Digital Release: October 23, 2011

Physical Release: N/A

Amidst the sudden fascination buzzing about twee little indie bands with their uncharismatic charisma, weak voices and fragile stage presence, Noah And The Whale gladly hopped onto the wave of interest that swooped down over many London-dwelling, supposedly off-beat bands, each with their own take on goof-ball humour (see Noah And The Whale’s ‘5 Years Time’ video). Back then, the indie folk foursome became well-known for the dulcet monotony of Charlie Fink’s vocals backed up with the sound a home-made production; laughing at itself and quietly mocking those enjoyed it by seeing just how far it could sneak up to the line of non-song preciousness without be called out for putting cavities in the teeth. In the song, Fink sang the line “I might not know you in five years time”, but even now, just three years on, much of the band’s original sound has become tighter, slicker, better-produced; the lyrics improved and (ahem) matured, demonstrating far more musical know-how than hand-crafted feel of their first album. The only issue is, it’s compromised their more jocular song-writing. It’s hard to be a witty indie kid when you’re playing the music game as some kind of wise old oracle rattling out life lessons two per line. But then again, you could be thankful that Fink has better things to comment on than the possibility of getting shagged in the nearest room or – an equally distasteful prospect – going out on a quaint little bicycle ride through some lush green forestry and having a weed picnic with straw hats and bare feet.

‘Waiting For My Chance To Come’ sees Fink and is cohorts change drastically in both image and sound, but not necessarily into what popular convention asks them for. Gone are the cute matching costumes and in their stead are formal-looking black suits, the dress of many an indie band these days (it seems like Hurts did at least have some kind of ‘effect’ on music culture after all). But Noah And The Whale are still very much the kind of band who become instantly popular at festivals because they play one vaguely recognisable song to an audience too high to properly entertain the whole thing whilst hopelessly trying to keep up with the melodic spelling of a whimsical life lesson: “life goes on”. And on ‘Waiting For My Chance To Come’, Tom Hobden’s frivolous violin meets some buzzing synthesisers and gets gratuitously decorated by a spacious widescreen feel, like an apathetic camera lens focusing on some form of glitzy American dream littered with obstacles and cautionary pit-stops. It’s pleasant to hear that Fink’s dropped the all-knowing third person narratives he’s been giving recently, and in doing so his often irksome lyrical acuity is at it‘s most charming since ‘Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down’, but this newfound seriousness and wisdom – as well as the dropping of Fink’s distinct British tone – make you long for the less cluttered days where it really was just “fun, fun, fun” in the “sun, sun, sun”.

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