The bit of bouncy keys that opens Last Night on Earth is a bit of a misnomer. While Noah and the Whale employ keys, what they actually play is American Band Rock, the kind of music that opens up rock to anthems.
It’s music for big spaces, music for throwing your arms open wide and defiantly, joyfully going confident into the world. “Life is Life” is about changing your ways, “Tonight’s the Kind of Night” declares that “things could change,” and “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” gives the characters hope despite what they’ve seen.
All of those kind messages make the intersection with faith inevitable. Lead singer Charlie Fink declares on “Life is Life” that this change of life “feels like heaven.” Where that change comes from, where that hope comes from, those are spiritual questions inherit in these anthems.
Meanwhile, “Wild Thing” walks through Lou Reed’s New York, a compassionate character sketch of someone walking on the wide side. Xylophone opens up “Give It All Back,” before the guitar charges it forward in a move that comes like a pop-bounced Springsteen tale. The best comparison can be found at Mike Dunn and the Kings of New England. It’s Springsteen riffs played on keys and softer guitars; it’s Springsteen tales of rising against the circumstances; it’s the hopeful in the midst of the challenges of life.
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