Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Which Bitch? review

“Hello, is that The View’s parents?”

“Oh, it’s gone to voicemail, hang on a minute… Hello, The View’s parents. This is… a concerned listener. It has transpired that your sons’ difficult second album has been set loose on the unsuspecting ears of the British music public and it’s… well, it’s surprisingly good. Yes, really! If you would kindly call back on this number then we’ll just have a quiet word about the name.”

Now where were we?

As Scotland’s brattiest, scampiest, young rascals, The View were a delight indeed. Hard-partying and heavy-drinking, these four Dundonian miscreants exploded onto the scene with songs about stinky trousers and drunken hairdressers, but musically they were… well, let’s just say that they weren’t as terrific as the hype would have had you believe.

These young pups have made the leap to album number two, and it’s a genuine delight to report that Which Bitch?  is, frankly, a lot better than it had any right to be.

Starting off with ‘Typical Time’, the kick-off has ragtime piano and a smattering of mouth organ, with Kyle Falconer’s thick Scottish accent chiming in sweetly. Lyrically, it reflects a broader world view already than Hats Off To The Buskers, witness, “We’ve flown around the world together/Seen a marvellous range of sick bags even in Baghdad”.

Then ‘5Rebbeccas’ [sic] comes in, all beefy percussion and guitars. Like a beefed up ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’, it’s drenched in chiming guitars and tasty harmonies, and really shows producer Owen Morris’ hand in its Oasis-style drums.

There are some low points - ‘One Off Pretender’ has a bizarre spoken quality which recalls 2008’s most mediocre band The Twang and is, as such, a rotter, but these are few and far between on an album that carries the maturing ‘Days Of Pearly Spencer’-style drama of ‘Glass Smash’ and The View’s own ‘Day In The Life’, the string-laden segue-tastic ‘Distant Dubloon’. The latter calls to mind the mythology of the Good Ship Albion, a standard of early 2000s indie-botherers The Libertines, with whom The View have been most favourably compared in the past.

There’s plenty here to show that The View have moved on since their debut record. Strings, mandolins and whistling á la Roger Whittaker are a start, but really the maturing of the songwriting and the more expansive take on life shows that, contrary to popular belief, the boys have not been skiving lessons for a sneaky fag, but have been learning and growing as musicians. And it’s really great to hear.

Now, back to informing The Views’ parents. They will be pleased at their boys’ progress.

By Kirstie McCrum, Muso Guide, 11th February 2009


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