Noah And The Whale - Biography
By Marcus Kagler
Taking a cue from their neo-folk American counterparts like Neutral Milk Hotel and Bonnie “Prince” Billy while pilfering freely from the vaults of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, the London, England based quartet Noah and the Whale have largely served as the flagship band for the UK’s recent underground neo-folk renaissance, which includes young luminaries like Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons. Largely the vehicle for singer/multi-instrumentalist, Charlie Fink, the group formed after Fink returned from a year long sabbatical in North America, where he drove from New York to San Francisco and rediscovered his affinity for eclectic folk music with an indie-pop bent. Fink began playing solo acoustic gigs under the name Noah and the Whale, an allusion to the film The Squid and the Whale and it’s director Noah Baumbach, in 2007 before meeting then 17 year old kindred spirit Laura Marling, herself a well respect singer/songwriter, who joined the line up soon after. The band solidified a few months later with Fink’s brother Douglas on drums, Tom Hobden on violin, and Matt “Urby” Owen on bass/harmonium. The band soon gained a devout underground following via their eclectic live shows, word of mouth, a seemingly endless amount of blogs, MySpace song posts, and a popular YouTube video of a 3 year toddler requesting Noah and the Whale songs in broken baby speak.
The group’s debut 7” single, “Five Years Time” (2007 Young and Lost Club) was greeted with unanimous critical praise with the group releasing two more singles, “2 Bodies, 1 Heart” (2008 Vertigo) and “Shape of My Heart” (2008 Mercury) just a few months later. Marling formally exited the band in the spring of 2008 to pursue a solo career, releasing the critically lauded and Mercury Music Prize nominated debut solo full length, Alas, I Cannot Swim (2008 Virgin), which Charlie Fink also produced. Marling still performs with the band intermittently to this day. International interest in the group began to build after some high profile festival performances at Glastonbury in the UK and SXSW in the U.S. Although they had yet to release a full length album, the band was subsequently chosen to play the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago in the summer of 2008, after which they are scheduled to embark on their first tour of North America. Noah and the Whale’s debut full length, Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down (Mercury) is set to be released in August of 2008 throughout Europe and North America.