Sunday, January 14, 2007

Under the influence of Oasis

CD of the week

Who would have thought a band as rickety as the Libertines would have had such a lasting echo in British music? The two most successful new bands of 2006 - Arctic Monkeys and the Kooks - would not have sounded like they do were it not for the Libertines. Both bands cleaned up commercially by tightening up the sound of Doherty and Barat artfully falling apart. This echo shows little sign of fading in 2007, especially since the year's first new stars are so enthusiastically in its thrall.

Just like their heroes, twenty-nothing Dundonians the View are all pell-mell guitar jangle and rabid moshpit devotion. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, Pete Doherty passed their demo on to his former A&R man, current 1965 Records supremo James Endeacott.
The imitation does not let up on their debut album. 'The Don' takes Doherty's music-hall oompah due North and laces it with rolled Rs, replacing East-End squalor with housing-scheme mischief. In 'Wasteland', the View even have the obligatory one-off skanking number. Originality is clearly not the strong suit of this former pub covers band. Since Arctic Monkeys, homegrown accents have become de rigueur in rock, and the one really special thing about the View - other than their rampant energy, and winning Scots chutzpah - is that they sing, slur and shout like they talk, while not sounding in any way like the Proclaimers.

But before Barat and Doherty, Gallagher and Gallagher loomed largest in the View's pantheon; Oasis's first producer, Owen Morris, is at the helm here. The Oasis connection has helped to spread the impression that the View are part of a new wave of lad bands - Kasabian, budding Birmingham miscreants the Twang, the Fratellis - set to colour 2007 with bruises. Trashed hotel rooms and mini-riots do follow in the View's wake.

But unless the swaggering 'Streetlights' turns into a terrace anthem, there is little else on Hats off to the Buskers to suggest the View are the heirs to Oasis's kingdom of men. Theirs is the sound of a youth spent rampaging around a Caledonian housing scheme on 'half an E', writing songs for their friends in exchange for free haircuts ('Wasted Little DJs'). Regrettably, though, for all their speed, the View never outpace their influences.

Kitty Empire
Sunday January 14, 2007
The Observer


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