'Impressive but flawed - and that's what growing up is all about, right?'
Matt Pinder

10:51 1st May 2013

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Charlie Fink is one troubled soul. Will he ever be happy? Even on his most uplifting composions he comes across glum, there's no pleasing some and four albums in and the subject matters are still the same.

Noah & the Whale might have been over-shadowed by their West London folk-inspired contemporaries Mumford & Sons but both have taken their own roots, proving that there is room for two of Laura Marling's ex-boyfriends on the music scene. You could say that NATW path has been more experimental as they have evolved into their own established sound.

If you want heartbreak and tales of growing into your mid-twenties then NATW are the band for you and Heart of Nowhere, their latest effort has it all, again, without it sounding repetitive. Fink is a unique song-writer, ambitious with his creations, bold in imagination, visual in sound. There's an array of elements that shine through on Heart of Nowhere, a collaboration with the powerful lungs of Anna Calvi on the title track gets things off to an attractive start.

'All Through The Night' has an uplifting melody, an atmospheric chorus and synths that take on an intrinsic, eclectic role, 'Lifetime' is structured around hope, partnered by an eclipsing string section full of vibrant lust and green-is-green-on-the-other-side mentality. The subtlety on 'One More Time' explodes into what is regret where Fink croons over an ex who moved on whilst he clearly hasn't.

At time there is a certain awkwardness to the in-depth detail of Fink's lyrics, these mostly revolve around the fact that names are given to the girls in these stories, maybe they are fictional but with the brutal honesty on the LP that seems unlikely. The progression on each of NATW four albums has been impressive, the freshness of the band's debut still feels not only relevant but what it promised has been delivered, 'There Will Come A Time' might be the bands most impressive track to date. It has a manifesto, a repetitive chorus that pleads to be shouted back at and a feeling of celebration, a rare moment of joy.

Heart of Nowhere comes to a subdued closure with 'Not Too Late', a moody number that shows that expectations are rarely met, not everything promised comes through but there is still time for a change. All in all this is a good album, when NATW are on it they are great but there are flaws in there too, but that is essentially what growing up is all about and they document those struggles well.

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