Thursday, January 04, 2007

Mercury Lounge Review

With all due respect to Justin Timberlake, there's really been no shortage of "sexy" in modern music. What's really been missing is the sense of guileless fun -- the kind that can't be concocted by pros toting pro tools -- that was on display when the View used its U.S. bow to prove themselves more than capable of bringing giddy back.
The Scottish quartet, all of whom fall shy of legal drinking age, packed more bounce to the ounce than the Mercury Lounge stage had seen in ages, all shaggy hair, flailing limbs and infectious choruses that engendered sing-alongs despite the thistle-thick accent that cloaked frontman Kyle Falconer's delivery.

Short, sharp songs -- culled from the band's debut, "Hats Off to the Buskers," which Columbia will release in March -- evoked memories of the poppier side of first-wave punk icons like the Buzzcocks and Undertones, particularly in the sunny grooves of "Wasted Little DJs" and "Dance Into the Night."

Band skirted one-dimensionality, however, by leaping into other sonic territories, lending an affably slapdash -- if intermittently sloppy -- tone to the proceedings.

Lead guitarist Pete Reilly offset the simple punkiness with metal-flaked riffs -- like those in the careening "Comin' Down" -- that owed more to Steve Marriott than Steve Jones, while bassist Kieren Webster brought along a bit of music-hall Kinks-iness to his lead vocal turn on "Skag Trendy."

Like kindred spirits the Arctic Monkeys, the foursome have a broad loquacious streak (showcased nicely on the airy "Superstar Tradesman") as well as an unreconstructed air of Britishness. They showed the latter by borrowing a central motif of the Clash's "Revolution Rock" for the decidedly nonconfrontational "At Gran's for Tea" and dipping into vintage Two-Tone label ambience on "Wasteland."

Still, while the band's stance was redolent of its homeland, the perf never slipped into provinciality, leaving the impression that all but the most diehard Anglophobes could easily fall under the spell of the View.

Band plays L.A.'s Viper Room on Friday and Spaceland on Saturday.



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