Girish Gupta

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Noah and the Whale - Manchester Club Academy
Oct. 4, 2009

Published by Student Direct: Mancunion

USING AN ELECTRIC toothbrush to keep up the quivering of his guitar strings, Charlie Fink produced a whirlwind of electronica to smother the audience as he finished off Noah and the Whale’s Club Academy Club Academy set last week.

This may well seem to you like the end of a gig of gargantuan proportions, of epic surrealism and yet overwhelming intimacy. Occasionally it was.

‘Love of an Orchestra’ may not have earned the band the respect of an orchestra, however, the deep melodies, layered guitars and overlying violin would certainly have impressed Arcade Fire. Then there’s the haunting ‘First Days of Spring’, gorgeously strung through with a guitar lick that is thinly veiled behind Charlie’s enigmatic deep vocal.

But why only occasionally? In interviews, Fink is famed for giving ridiculous answers bordering on the deranged. On record, the band sound like they are about to burst out of your speakers and furnish you with free drink and enough folky rock to raise even Morrissey from depression. But live, the band seem too scared to put in any of the enthusiasm that clearly fills the rest of their lives.

Muttering just a few words to his audience, Fink seemed to be concentrating too hard on something in the distance with the rest of the band following suit. Except bassist Urby Whale, who jumped up and down on both feet throughout like a leprechaun eager to take you to the end of his rainbow.

Buy the records, put them on loud and close your eyes. It’s the best way to appreciate Noah.

2.5/5




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© Girish Gupta