If much of this is catchy, however, you can’t help but miss the Noah And The Whale who could be emotionally devastating. Songs like All Through The Night, Lifetime and There Will Come A Time sound tailor-made to inspire pumping fists and mass sing-alongs and end up feeling like pastiches as a result. This isn’t helped by lyrics which lift heavily from the Springsteen book of growing up and getting out – One More Night (which sounds like it could come from Born In The USA) is even directed to a girl named Jennifer who got “married too young” and features a “kiss down by the river”. It may be a long time since Springsteen could call himself young but it’s difficult to understand why you wouldn’t just return to evergreen classics like Born To Run rather than listen to Noah And The Whale aping them, however well-executed these songs may be.
Tonight is the penultimate Session of a week which has seen acts as diverse as Richard Hawley, Olly Murs and Gary Barlow (whose reported tax-avoidance could surely pay for much-needed services) come to this sleepy Church in Clapton. The venue looks resplendent in red drapes and the scent of mulled wine hits you as soon as you enter. This, combined with the hugely amiable audience, creates an inescapably-festive atmosphere.
This is fitting as Noah and the Whale are celebrating the final night of an 18-month tour in support of 2011’s Last Night on Earth, their third and most successful album to date. It saw the band decisively throw off the ‘one-hit wonder’ tag which had followed them since 2008’s chirpy breakthrough 5 Years Time – a song which they seem reluctant to perform these days (and absent this evening) bringing to mind the ‘complex’ relationship Radiohead have with their first hit, Creep. Nonetheless, the Springsteen-esque Americana of much of Last Night on Earth is perfectly suited to a Saturday night gig and the band bound on stage to launch into the rapturous Tonight’s the Kind of Night. It is the perfect beginning, its positive message of possibility perfectly suited to the cause and its description “the night outside is five below, the moon is in the sky” tailor-made for this Wintery intimacy.