Monday, January 22, 2007

Album Review from

Rated 7/10

In a nutshell…

Poppy, jangly, mixed, confused, attitude

What's it all about?

The NME have been at it again, it's another January album and the indie bible has trumped yet another band to have produced "the best debut since Definitely Maybe". Rather than debate this dull cliché, it's perhaps more purposeful to declare that Hats Off To The Buskers isn't the best debut since Oasis' effort, but it's surprising, spirited and well worth taking notice off.

The Dryburgh collective have produced what was expected of them, its part Led Zep part the Coral, which is both a blessing and a curse. Comin Down kicks things off, with lots of feedback and a speedy scream-a-long which sounds like Achilles Last Stand before merging into Superstar Tradesman – the album's highlight. Hats Off To The Buskers doesn't have a constant theme or attitude to display. Instead, it's an eclectic bunch of songs reminiscent of the kind of bands they clearly grew up listening to.

Owen Morris is in charge of production duties after having overseen Definitely Maybe and Northern Soul, both of which are regarded as being among the most seminal records of the last 20 years.

Who's it by?

The View appeared on the scene in the early part of 2006, touring with Babyshambles and releasing a limited EP on the Two Thumbs label. They've since played shows in the US and Japan, supported Primal Scream and released two top-20 singles. After the band's first single Wasted Little DJs graced the indie radio waves, it became obvious that they'd go places rather fast.

Kyle Falconer's distinct tone shines through on every View song, blending his Scottish accent with a mixture of Bobby Gillespie and Robert Plant. Overall he's got a great rock 'n' roll voice which makes Superstar Tradesman and Wasted Little DJs far more interesting than they would otherwise have been.

As an example…

"Superstar tradesman/ stand at the bar/ get a trade son, you will go far," highlights the band's ability to have a dig at their hometown. This record is a classic reaction to young lads caught up in a community offering them nothing, encouraging them to find something other than what previous generations have tolerated.

Likelihood of a trip to the Grammys

I'd bet on Superstar Tradesman to qualify for NME's track of the year and possibly a few other categories.

What the others say

"If 'Hats Off...' is slightly too much, too soon, they've still done enough to impress: they'll never get their bedheads around new rave and they'll never connect with The Horrors' crowd, but with the grot'n'roll spirit lashed to a grand tradition of Scots melodicism and a healthy dose of small-town escapism, The View's flame can only rage harder." – NME

"While it’s not unusual these days to find an album that juxtaposes nine-to-five miseries and with nocturnal ecstasies, there’s not one that does it with such heart on its sleeve honesty as Hats Off To The Buskers." - Gigwise

So is it any good?

Hats Off To The Buskers is good enough to not disappoint the critics who are anxious to plug the band into the upper echelons of stardom. Same Jeans, the latest single, has a Kooks likeability to it and has generated a fair amount of airplay, however it's the early material that still shines out. Superstar Tradesman and Wasted Little DJs are both reason enough to give this band a try, even if you struggle to find little else here.

Wasteland is another highlight, it hints at the View having far more to offer than they produce on this album, with cutting lyrics and a rebellious attitude. "This is the wasteland our idealistic wasteland/ regurgitated circle of a seven-hour shop stand/ sign on the brew coz there's nothing to do/ nothing to do but listen to you" Kyle yells at a rapid pace. The guitars are raucous and strained in an echo of the Libertines' Tomblands, it's angry and feverous with a group chorus that Doherty and Barat would have been proud of.

Street Lights is another strong song, blending Mod riffs with a gentler side of Albion and boasting an addictive chorus. Wasted Little DJs is the same recording released earlier in the year, invoking memories of their triumphant set-closer at Reading festival which blew Jo Whiley's socks off and caused her to mumble "I love the View" for hours on end.

There's certainly a strong bed of material on this record that you can't help but throw superlatives at. Kyle's vocals remain the best part of the songs all the way through, yet it's disconcerting to be thrown around from angry youthful songs to bingo hall-style sing-a-longs. The View are better that this record, but Hats Off To The Buskers does enough to keep the reputation alive and spell a hectic summer of drunken festival sets.

Karl Pike, 22/1/07


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