Noah and the Whale is one of those bands about which people always seem to disagree. Even I wasn’t a fan at first–it took a while for Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down to charm me (although it definitely won me over in the end). Second album The First Days of Spring, the beautiful result of Charlie Fink’s break-up with Laura Marling, has also garnered very extreme reviews: some regard it as one of the best break-up albums ever recorded, others as decidedly less so (Pitchfork: “the uniform dishwater feel of the music fits the Xanax-ed sentiments of the lyrics”). To complicate matters further, both albums just sound so different–one is upbeat and borderline-twee, the other brooding and sparse. Critics and fans agree, however, on the band’s remarkable growth between the two works, and anticipation is starting to build for the release of album number three.
Third album Last Night on Earth is set to be released March 7 of this coming year. Will it continue in the depressingly cathartic vein of The First Days of Spring, or regain some of the band’s earlier bounce? If single “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” is any indication, I would say the band is moving somewhere else entirely (and its influences seem closer to my side of the pond). Premiering today on Zane Lowe, “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N” leaves me even more curious about what their third album will bring. Although I’m not blown away by this first showing, I’ve learned not to make snap judgments about a band that experiments with so many styles (“Love of an Orchestra”, anyone?). Whatever I or anyone else thinks about this single, it proves that Noah and the Whale has defied categorization once again.