Saturday 25 February 2017

Music: Last Night on Earth by Noah and the Whale ***

(Vertigo)

John Meagher

John Meagher

As part of the English folk movement that spawned Laura Marling (a former band member) and Mumford & Sons, one might have expected Charlie Fink and friends to continue their line of gentle folk ruminations.

But Last Night on Earth offers a dramatic change of direction -- not least when one considers the maudlin musings of their previous album (inspired by Fink's break-up with Marling).

This is hook-laden, radio-baiting, soft-rock, unashamed pop, likely to hoover up legions of new listeners and lose a few old ones.

Fink has something of Springsteen's ability to create fully formed characters in song, although it's Tom Petty that seems to have been most inspirational (despite the singer's suggestion that Lou Reed's Berlin was on his mind when writing the songs). There's plenty to enjoy, even if much of this short album is undeniably cloying. Lead single L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. captures that dichotomy best.

Last Night on Earth is perky and fun, but repeat exposure could lead to the sort of meltdown Michael Douglas portrayed in Falling Down.

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