Friday, January 30, 2009

Which Bitch? review

Rated 9/10
I cannot think of a more perfect embodiment of the View’s “second-album-sound”, than when I went to see the band. In November of last year, I went to the Liverpool Barfly to watch the band, expecting a hormonal crowd of Skins-esque indie-kids. Surprisingly though, it was filled with, and I mean filled with, middle-aged men, living out their failed moshpit fantasies. The Hat’s Off To The Busker singles such as Wasted Little DJs, Superstar Tradesman, and Same Jeans appealed to those from 14 to 40, their twin Radio 1 and Radio 2 appeal shining through. But when it came to the sneak peaks of their new tracks, a different atmosphere came about, one of shock, awe and then slowly, a build up of the same roof-raising fervency that had greeted the new tracks. And that’s exactly how this album transpires - on first listen it’s seems like madness, an incoherent genre mish-mash, before eventually evolving into a brilliant album that easily surpasses their first effort, and in turn leaves most of the generic indie rock surrounding it, lying dazed in the wayside.

What is so impressive about this album is how daring it is. Indie’s post-Libertine drift into the mainstream, resulted in the sacrificing of the attitude, the genre’s cornerstone - the ramshackle qualities that made the Libertines so appealing, being rounded off, polished, packaged and slapped into arenas. The View seem to genuinely live out this ethos, and as such seem to really not give a fuck. This miraculous preference for artistic merit over commercial appeal probably won’t see them repeat the sale of Hats Off… but will gain them more respect, and a more fanatical core of fans. The album is wall-to-wall great songs, but ones that demand your attention - One Off Pretender may seem like embarrassing white-boy rap, but scratch the surface and you’ll see the sheer exuberance of the piece, and when the anthemic terrace-chant chorus of “shout it from the rooftops” a clear reminder of just who this band is, and why people fell in love with them in the first place.

Yes there are the indie-anthems of the first album, lead single 5Rebeccas is a blasting, rambunctious pop belter, whilst Temptation Dice is a chirpy, harmonising cheeky-chappy track, bearing a close resemblance to the riff-heavy pop of Hat’s Off… . But even in these more commercial moments, there is still a healthy peppering of madness, with 5Rebeccas boasting a brilliant sea-shanty interlude, before leaping back into the classic View drugs-drink-and-girls chorus. But there are some songs which are just a complete departure from anything else in existence in music at the moment - Glass Smash opens with the tribal chants of Dundee after a nuclear-strike, before launching into a heavy-riff, and then into an incredibly dark vocal by Kyle Falconer, his highlight of the album, giving a pirate chant of the worst night-out ever. Then there’s Unexpected, drenched in strings and sounding like Joy Division meeting the Strokes over tequila, with Falconer delivering a heart-breaking performance of how his “sun has turned to snow”. Distant Doubloon again has a pirate-y air about it, and sounding like something Jack Sparrow and his gang could easily chant.

But the View never allow you to forget just who this is you’re listening to. Just when you’re thinking it’s a bit too far out, they slap you with the indie-kid chorus and solo of Jimmy’s Crazy Conspiracy or the radio-friendly riot of Shock Horror, an ascension of a guitar and rasping screams from Falconer. The View have tried to do something different, and in a field where the norm is to stick with the status quo to sell tickets and t-shirts, they should be applauded. But even discounting that, this is just a great album, with equilibrium reached between chorus-heavy indie pop, and bold experimentalism. The View have dared to formulate their own brand of indie - it could be the smartest, and most entertaining, move a band makes all year.

by Matthew Handley, The Music Magazine, 30th January 2009


Post a Comment

<< Home