Editor's note: Leading up to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, CultureMap is featuring exclusive artist profiles from ACL's Artist Discovery Series. Before the second week of the festival, we take a look at fun-loving folk rock from Noah and the Whale.
Noah and the Whale launched into the international scene in 2008 with the debut album Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down. Released in perfect harmony with the indie-folk storm that was overtaking radio dials, the record quickly catapulted these Brits to a position as the darlings of a modern lo-fi resurgence.
In the past five years, the band’s lineup has changed, and its sound has evolved, relying less on the acoustic guitars and harmonic hooks of yesteryear and leaning more on edgy string instrumentation paired with ‘80s-inspired synthesizers. Whether it’s with the early acoustic sounds or the electronic overtones of more recent releases, Noah and the Whale plays heavily on teen sensibilities, delivering nostalgia that appeals to the 17-year-old outcast in us all.
Heart of Nowhere captures the beautiful, desperate nature of teen angst, delivering those old feelings in a package of tender lyrics that are at once warm and biting.
Heart of Nowhere, released in 2013, is a catalog of coming-of-age songs that travel well from dorm-room speakers to a festival stage. Supplemented by strings and electro-pop roots, Heart of Nowhere captures the beautiful, desperate nature of teen angst, delivering those old feelings in a package of tender lyrics that are at once warm and biting.
"Somewhere not far from now, it was decided that adolescents were detrimental to a well functioning society. Teenagers were quarantined on to an island within the city, colloquially known as teenland," reads the opening text on the video for "There Will Come a Day," the first single on the new album. With those two sentences, the tone is set for an album that is a testimony to teenage unrest: reassuring anthems that proclaim victory over the awkward years — as long as you’re willing to wait them out.
The album is accompanied by the release of a short film co-written and directed by Noah and the Whale frontman Charlie Fink. Just like the band, the film will soon be touring the international festival circuit.
Noah and the Whale take to the ACL stage again this weekend with a Sunday afternoon set (2:30 pm on the Honda Stage) that will end your festival experience on a feel-good high. Couple Noah and the Whale’s easygoing folk set with Franz Ferdinand’s dance party, and you’ll have a nostalgic, fun-loving Sunday afternoon for the books.
Between festival weekends, ACL Fest asked for a list of tunes the British band listens to for a festival recharge. Take a listen to this playlist of "Pick Me Ups" on the ACL website before heading to sold-out Weekend Two of the festival.