Monday, October 09, 2006

Engine Rooms, Brighton

For a band currently at the centre of a whirlwind of hype and expectation, the View appear charmingly unaffected. They have managed to avoid the visit to the stylist that now comes as standard for any alt-rock band who sign to a major record label. In Brighton, the stage is a riot of lank fringes and pasty skin: they look less like a rock band than the malnourished denizens of a particularly down-at-heel youth club.

Despite a reputation for misbehaviour and rock'n'roll excess - the launch party for their debut single, Wasted Little DJs, was broken up by police, while their friendship with Pete Doherty culminated in drummer Steve Morrison being arrested in his company - the View seem blithely unbothered by accepted notions of cool. The nearest guitarist Peter Reilly comes to striking an attitude on stage is when he leans into the crowd in order to steal a drag from someone's cigarette. They exude a certain air of mystery, but this has less to do with a sense of glamour and star quality than the fact that their Dundee accents are so thick as to be completely incomprehensible to anyone not from the Tayside region. Their between-song chat causes paroxysms of delight from the front row and mass bewilderment elsewhere. It quickly transpires that the front row is entirely comprised of die-hard Scottish fans.

Yet you can see why the View have attracted so much attention. Their songs balance a thrashy punk energy with a keen sense of melody, the lyrics prosaically sketching out the tedium of adolescent life in the sticks: Same Jeans, Gran's For Tea, Superstar Tradesman. They play them like men with nothing to lose: the guitars sound frantic, while the false endings and sudden lurches in tempo have a infectious, white-knuckle excitement about them. As they tear through the bile-filled Posh Boys - "You can try to break us, but you'll only make us, our heads are screwed on far too fucking tight" - they offer one of the most beguiling sights in rock: a band seizing their moment with both hands.

Alexis Petridis
Monday October 9, 2006
The Guardian


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