Thursday, February 05, 2009

View from the top?

FOR a man with a possible number one album hanging over him, The View's Kyle Falconer seemed pretty relaxed on Tuesday night.

Well, relaxed is maybe the wrong word. Like the rest of the band, he was hard at work in the madness that is the run-up to the first week placing of the band's all-important second album.

They were making special re-recordings of three of their new songs, as well as recording a special live session in the historic Maida Vale studios for Radio One's Zane Lowe. And then it was on to playing London's Hard Rock Cafe today (Thursday), appearing at a band-unfriendly 9am this Saturday on Sky Sports 1's Soccer AM and they're on Channel 4's Album Chart Show next Friday. And that's probably just the half of it.

So the band reputation for wild parties, going AWOL and generally living it up, is not even half the story at the moment.

And with the midweek chart projections pitching The View's newly-released album Which Bitch? just behind Bruce Springsteen's long-awaited new release, it was just business as usual for Kyle as the album hovered somewhere near the number one slot.

"Nah, we're not on tenterhooks. I don't think it's the biggest week of our year, though in a year it might seem that way.

"But we're not really thinking about it. We're just getting on with the job," said Kyle.

But he did reveal that if Which Bitch? tops the chart, there might be a wee celebration. And who wouldn't.

"If it happens, we're just going to have a couple of drinks, but we're trying to get some sort of party out of our record company in case it does all go mental."

A number one would be a big deal for the band who've come back with a follow-up that's so different to the straightforward good-time, singalong pop hit-after-hit of Hats Off To The Buskers.

But though Which Bitch? comes from a different place and takes plenty of risks – it goes and gets away with them and alerts the world that there may be much more to the Dundonians than first met the eye.

Anyone who heard the new songs slotted into the blistering heat of the band's last Raigmore set at the end of last year, was probably intrigued to hear how they would sound away from the sweat, energy and madness of the live gig.

But you might not have suspected producer Owen Morris to return to the fray with the band and get so many new directions out of them. Paolo Nutini joins Kyle on vocals on Covers, Kyle's sister Kim features on Give Back The Sun and there's even a pirate song with, like Covers, oodles of sawing strings. But the rabble-rousers still offer plenty of crowd-pleasers – such as live anthem 5 Rebbeccas or Shock Horror.

But, as Kyle revealed, there was never any intention to go off at a tangent just for the sake of it.

"We never tried to make it any different, it just all happened. Before it had been punk rock rules with the first one, not too many harmonies etc. But the string thing happened for this one because Owen was mates with a guy who came in and did some for us."

There may not be the money to reproduce the huge string sounds live every night.

But Kyle would clearly like to get the chance.

The radio doesn't seem to like saying the "bitch" word in the title, Kyle admitted.

But it's not a major problem. And with the album-backing tour nearly here – the band play Inverness Ironworks next Sunday (Feb 15) – they're soon enough off out live again to Europe with some German bands.

"It's all systems go," said Kyle.

And though they still don't know the fate of Which Bitch? in the history books, early plans for album three are under way.

"Once we're back off this tour, Owen will have moved to Edinburgh and we're hopefully going to be half-ready to go and start recording some stuff with him."

Will they miss Wales, where much of the work on the first two was done? Oh, and wasn't there that little thing about being barred from the centre of Monmouth too? Yup.

But now Edinburgh will be at their feet, thanks to Owen.

Watch out Edinburgh.

And look out Inverness.

At 2008's last View gig, Kyle was practically melting in the Raigmore inferno. There wasn't so much wild behaviour as just trying to get through the songs without totally dehydrating.

"I was hungover and I'd really had to be on my best behaviour to get back to play there," Kyle confessed.

But if the band's loyal fans rush out to get their copy of Which Bitch? and give legend Springsteen's Working On A Dream a downward dunt, you can guarantee one thing.

The View will definitely be on fire when they hit town a week later.

The View play the Ironworks, Inverness, next Sunday.

By Margaret Chrystall, Highland News, 5th February 2009


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