Saturday, February 07, 2009

Which Bitch? review

The first thing to strike you about The View is lead singer Kyle Falconer's accent. More ancient Norse than contemporary Dundee, you'd expect the lyrics to be rune-carved observations of hi-jinks on the high seas rather than a Libertines-infused taste of Tayside.

But if you can get past Falconer's love-it-or-hate-it intonation there are hints of a band flexing their musical muscle. And there's variety in abundance, from the delicate, harmonica-led opener 'Typical Time 2', to the sea shanty of 'Glass Smash', via the big musical number about Dundonians that Andrew Lloyd Webber never wrote ('Distant Doubloon').

And that voice proves soulful and rich in equal measure. On the appropriately named 'Unexpected', 'Bittersweet Symphony'-style strings introduce a folksy vocal which delights in accentuating and emphasising odd sounds in the lyric. It is charming, as are the harmonics of the line "I never claimed to be no angel" over the coarse chanting on 'Glass Smash'.

But some sun-kissed pop retains the shine of the group's Mercury-nominated debut Hats Off to the Buskers. The Oasis stomp, chugging chords and sharp but sinister refrain of "The woman I love the most has turned into a junkie" on '5Rebeccas' picks up where they left off, and the jangly jubilance of 'Temptation Dice' threatens to take the chill out of winter.

The road to longevity is littered with the discarded second albums of the music press's Next Big Things, but The View have produced an intriguing second effort of rough, choppy, romantic rock'n'roll, replacing the typical London languor with a rewarding Celtic charm.

Nick Bowden

Orange, 7th February 2009


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