Noah and the Whale

PETE SKIDMORE gets completely blown away by these cheery indie chappies.

Corn Exchange fun grunge happy laur marling noah and the whale pop rock

Cambridge Corn Exchange, Tuesday 25th October, £14

[rating: 5/5]

I make no apologies. This review is in no way impartial, and was never going to be. This London-based, indie-folk outfit have been my favourite band since I was 17, and nothing, not the heartbreaking departure of Laura Marling in 2008, nor the sudden sprouting of hair by bassist Mark Owens, can change that.

Noah and the Whale working on their new album

Five stars were already sparkling in my eyes as I entered the “VIP” area of The Corn Exchange, with the power of pressdom starting to go to my plus-one’s head as he admired the view “away from the rabble.” I have no idea who the support act were; they were shit. It didn’t matter, though, and any disquiet was swept away by the knowledge that Mr Fink was in the same building as us.

To thunderous applause, especially from the teenage girls in the front row who had a particular affinity with fiddler (ha, no not that kind) Tom Hobden, the band assumed their positions, and began explosively with a grunged-up version of Give a Little Love, which neatly led on to material from their latest album, Last Night on Earth. The simple chord sequences of tracks such as Life is Life and Give it All Back combined with nostalgic ’80s riffs had the beautiful effect of being both reminiscent and original.


Noah and the Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N

From the more upbeat songs we were eased into “the romantic section,” featuring the mournful Our Window, where Charlie Fink’s warming vocals emanated despair and loneliness. Finally, the band held our hands as we entered the “good times,” with favourites such as 5 Years Time reminding us why we fell in love with these guys, and eventually L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N showing that cheesy acronyms were no barrier to the wave of indie happiness gushing forward. But I maintain the absolute highlight was their double encore, which finished with the haunting violin solo of The First Days of Spring – easily their best song.

I have never yet found any fault with Noah and his gargantuan friend, and tonight was no different. I can only justify my sycophantism by hoping that everyone else in the venue enjoyed it as much as I did, and of that I’m fairly secure.