Noah and the Whale’s Last Night on Earth takes off from the self-pity tendencies of the folk genre and exists as an “I will be happy” record. Cleanly produced for the electro-pop radio, fruity melodies and lyrics make the group’s third album a perfect match for accompanying an inspirational slideshow for battling cancer, AIDS or possibly a broken heart, in the case of lead singer Charlie Fink.

Noah and the Whale

Last Night on Earth
Mercury

The curious band name comes from the Sundance Film Festival award-winning drama “The Squid and the Whale.” The band adores this Noah Baumbach-directed film about how to grow up. This knowledge coincides with the group’s first two folk-inspired records but creates somewhat of a disconnect with the sensation of its latest LP.

There is some background love-triangle information essential to understanding the progression of Noah and the Whale’s music. When Fink’s ex-girlfriend and bandmate Laura Marling went on tour with her solo album Alas I Cannot Swim, her backup band was Mumford & Sons. Marling started dating Marcus Mumford, leaving Fink in the dust on his sophomore album, The First Days of Spring, complete with 11 successful songs of elegy.

2009’s Spring was a beautiful manifestation of Fink’s rock bottom. Less than two years later, the foursome diverges slightly from the London nu-folk scene and cleanses its palate with joy.

Opening track “Life is Life” begins with an epic synthesizer beat reminiscent of the soundtrack from the ’90s television program “My-So-Called-Life.” It then develops into a soft-rock rebirth with the release of drums, electric guitar, violin and the moving lyrics: “(He) took apart his old things, set them all on fire.”

“Tonight’s the Kind of Night” creates a pattern that adds a little too much cheddar cheese to the already cheesy Velveeta mix of songs. Although it’s pleasant to know that Fink’s heart is no longer shredded and gray, this is more of a car-driving scene in a mediocre blockbuster movie than real life. On the opposite side of the tracks from Fink’s past musical endeavors, this song proves the group is not just one-dimensional.

Epitomizing the studio album is a timeless pop tune that peaked at 30 on the UK Singles Chart: “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” Raising his popularity with a hit, Fink displays great character descriptions, particularly in the couplet “Lisa likes brandy and the way it hits her lips / She’s a rock ‘n’ roll survivor with pendulum hips.” But the characters that might enjoy this song even more are the teenagers painting each other’s nails a nauseating metallic magenta and belting,” You’ve got heart and you’re going your own way” for decades to come.

In the midst of all the cheer, the Brits slow things down a bit for “Wild Thing,” “Paradise Stars” and “The Line.” The low-key vocals and electric guitar burn gently throughout “Wild Thing,” smoothing out the previously established, jive-y energy music for the masses. The solo instrumental tracks “Paradise Stars” and “The Line” become an appreciated reprieve from the “let’s-dance!” musical space that has been established.

The ear-penetrating, catchy “Give it All Back” and “Waiting for My Chance to Come” rounds off this album in a way that could qualify it to be used as a motivational asset on the treadmill.

Noah and the Whale covers more brightly colored ground with Last Night on Earth. With their chins up, these four men deserve hats-off for — at the very least — having the fortitude to make happy music.

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