It has to be said - Noah and the Whale are a hugely underrated band. Ask a randomer on the street about them, and if they don't run away or give you a really weird look, they'll likely mention 'Five Years Time', that one with all the "sun sun sun" and "fun fun fun".
Though it's an admittedly catchy song, it's certainly one of their weakest. That the lyrics are shallow and overly twee certainly put off many who would have found the rest of the album (2008's 'Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down', mainly about love, death and a notable lack of "sun sun sun") a surprisingly strong listen, and which left a lot of Radio 1 listeners very disappointed.
Last year's 'The First Days of Spring' was a huge leap forward for Noah and the Whale - any sense of twee was abandoned for an incredibly emotional album charting the break-up between frontman Charlie Fink and former band member/brilliant young folkie Laura Marling. Full of sorrowful strings, lump-in-the-throat vocals and epic sonic landscapes, it's not an easy listen at times, but is certainly a rewarding one. It also helped to point out that the band were never looking for chart success - though the label and radio stations may have seized 'Five Years Time' and shaken all the life out of it, Fink's artistic aspirations shone through here, particularly in the 50 minute film that accompanied the album.
After 'The First Days of Spring's heartbreaking honesty and creative maturity, Noah and the Whale's third album comes highly anticipated. Due for release in March, today saw the first taster for 'Last Night on Earth' with new track 'Wild Thing' premiering on the official website at noon today. The track is a really interesting evolution from 'The First Days of Spring' - while the chilled out guitar work remains, and the emotional intensity has lessened, the introduction of subtle electronics works extremely well. It's highly atmospheric, with hints of an 'xx'-esque sound, but still with that unmistakable songcraft of Charlie Fink, a completely enticing listen that will surely pique much interest over the next few weeks.
The track's unveiling follows the radio debut of new single 'L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N' on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show a few days ago, which sees a comfortable balance between the radio-friendliness of 'Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down' and the driven songwriting of 'The First Days Of Spring'.
The good news? 'Wild Thing' is free to download and stream below (see the cool little embedded tape player below, click the "eject" button to download the track), so give it a go yourself and see what you think - leave a comment about your opinion on the track if you wish! The bad news? I don't think I can wait 'til March for more...
Noah and the Whale's new album 'Last Night on Earth' is released in March.
Click here for a 'Best Of Noah and the Whale (So Far)' playlist on Spotify, and listen to the new track 'Wild Thing' and new single 'L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N' (in poor youtube radio quality) below.