Saturday, January 31, 2009

Which Bitch? Review

It’s not very often a band delivers on their promise to come up with a ‘new sound’ which is why the unexpected innovation on ‘Which Bitch?’ is all the more surprising. Furthermore it’s hard to make an impression and stake your claim for album of the year the same month as Animal Collective and White Lies dropped their gallant efforts, but yet again The View defied expectations in blatant disregard for the generic label placed on them. Lead single ‘5rebeccas’ however is a chip off the old block, it’s filled with the boyish guitarism which made ‘Hats Off’ such a success and demands stadium play or at the very least a festival makeover. However it’s when you dwell deeper in to the record that the true genius emerges.

‘Unexpected’ with it’s soft acoustic overlay and stringy backdrop is perfect in it’s composition. The calm eeriness is soothing and chilling all at the same time. The track alone is the best example of the development between the two albums - ‘Hats’ was filled with post-Libertine ramblings as the boys tried to fill the void left by Doherty, Barat an co. This album sees them find a more unique sound and this time they’re the ones pushing the indie boundaries. Another example of this echo filled mania is ‘Glass Smash’ which is energetic and brilliantly rhythmic as the lyrics flow beautifully in contrast with the rough guitars.

The boys have a Kooksy moment on ‘Temptation Dice’ and the ringing of ‘Always Where I Need To Be’ is present through the track especially during the du-da-du-da-da-da-du singalong. Filled with the sunshine and summer feel of ‘The Don’ the track posses the remains of their debut but in a fresh way. The repeated lyrics “You’re my best friend” also cries out Kooks-esque cringe but it’s not a trackly occurrence as on KONK and so it can be pardoned.

The most admirable is the way that this band have delivered what indie has been craving since The Libertines - a fresh sound, with a different approach and musical quality. Right from the get go the intro ‘Typical Time 2′ radiates a bluesy glow combined with the boys Irish roots as the harmonica (or so I think) swells. The jazzy sax on ‘Covers’ with Paolo Nutini’s vocals gives a folkish feel, and yet again shines as an example of avant-garde-indie.

Despite this they maintain a classically garage indie feel as ‘Shock Horror’ shows. A track that is skank-bound when played live much like ‘Same Jeans.’ The back up of their experimental indie tracks with belters like this ensure that the record succeeds and provides them with enough material to headline festivals over the summer (Glasto anyone? Reading? Leeds?)

Overall ‘Which Bitch?’ should be regarded as - brace yourselves - one of the finest indie albums since the Arctic Monkeys explosive debut. Maybe it was that nobody expected such a change from these Dundeeans, which is why when it came it blew us away further back, but either way this record needs recognition becauase a) it breaks free of the generic indie mould as followed so strictly by The Pigeon Detectives, The Kooks, Kaiser Chiefs etc. etc. and b) it’s generally a fine tuned album and an all round indie rock’n'roll masterpiece.

By Thom Morgan, There Goes The Fear,31st January 2009


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