Saturday, December 15, 2007

Astoria Review

The View's debut album may have failed to snare this year's Mercury prize, but, with their hummable hits, Libertines-like riffs and infectious enthusiasm, the Dundee quartet won the hearts of the British record-buying public. Not only did Hats Off to the Buskers fly to the top of the charts, but "the View are on fire" became the terrace chant for festivalgoers this summer.

Warmer than the Arctic Monkeys, cuddlier than the Klaxons, the View are easy to love. Even their rock'n'roll indiscretions - drummer Steve Morrison's arrest following an unwise drive with Pete Doherty, singer and rhythm guitarist Kyle Falconer's £1,000 fine for possessing cocaine and bassist Kieran Webster's fight with a bottle-throwing fan at a gig in Falkirk - have been dismissed as the playful high jinks of a band barely out of their teens.

Holding a bottle of beer aloft, Webster acknowledges the baying crowd, but rather than hurtling into one of their five singles, the band begin with the first of three new songs, The 5 Rebeccas. Softer than previous offerings and featuring Falconer in contemplative mood, it showcases a more mature sound for the View, if not a massive change in direction. The band continue to surprise with the B-side Screamin' n Shoutin', though the tight, punchy rhythm - propelled by a bare-chested Morrison - and sense of guilt-free fun captures the essence of their appeal.

Webster and Falconer are the two-headed hydra of the band, but there is little interaction between indie's latest smooth-cheeked poster boys. They swap instruments and places, but twitch and jolt in very separate spotlights. Falconer's changeling voice coos through the acoustic Face for the Radio, rips at the bluesy rhythm of Coming Down and draws out the mischievous menace of second fresh offering, Jimmy's Crazy Conspiracy. Webster's yelp rushes out like a breath that has been held too long - his sharp, mannered delivery making Gran's for Tea and Skag Trendy more than colourful vignettes. He also takes centre stage on One-Off Pretender, which recalls Modern-Life-Is-Rubbish-era Blur.

It is a tantalising taste of things to come, but this gig is about looking back and it is with the storming triumvirate of singalong favourites Superstar Tradesman, Wasted Little DJs and Same Jeans that the View celebrate not just the end of a successful year but their status as the people's band

Betty Clarke, The Guardian, Wednesday December 12, 2007


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