Thursday, March 05, 2009

Which Bitch? review

The View, one of the bands in the class of 2007 that released a bucket load of brilliant tunes, have returned this year with their second effort, ‘Which Bitch?’ The album follows on from the hugely successful ‘Hats off to the buskers’, which reached number one in the UK charts on January 28th 2007.

‘Which Bitch?’, a 14-track LP released on February 2nd, is hugely different from their debut. Previous bands have often been derided, cast away and remembered as ‘one hit wonders’ when producing a second album not up to the expectations of the first. On first listen, it would be easy to dismiss this album as another that falls into that category, yet I will be the first to admit that it does indeed grow on you. After enjoying two years of the explosive first album, the listener is forced to adapt to a new sound incorporated by the band in many of the tracks.

Of course, the band has maintained some sense of identity, including tracks on the album that wouldn’t look out of place on ‘Hats off to the Buskers’. However, some songs really have an intriguing sound to them, with a particular favourite of mine being ‘Glass Smash’. To say it is fabulous would be an understatement. It begins with a choir like “ooh” before being rudely disrupted by the smash of cymbols and a volley of guitar chords building into a crescendo as vocalist Kyle Falconer opens the song. The song continues at a fairly fast pace building up before dropping into a eerie quiet, and as Falconer ends the line “glass went smash”, the drummer aptly replies with the sound of cymbols crashing. “I never claimed to be no angel” continues the Dundee-man as the atmosphere of the song drops into darkness. A cleverly arranged piece, it is thoroughly enjoyable.

But the changes do not stop there. It seems the Views experimental initiative, however mad it may seem, takes another twist and turn in the form of the following track, ‘Distant Doubloon’. It begins with classical orchestrated music of the type you would expect to be performed by Mr Turner and Mr Kane of the Last Shadow Puppets. The orchestra then provide an upbeat backing which can only be described as something you would expect to hear in the likes of Oliver Twist. However, strange enough, Falconers voice actually collaborates with the music in an interesting fashion. A listen to this is a must, as the lengths the band have taken to experiment like this must be applauded. However, in truth, I cannot see this particular track being a hit at the summer festivals.

The general composition of the album is very good, with tracks ‘5 Rebeccas’, ‘One off pretender’ and ‘Temptation Dice’ in particular providing an entertaining listen.

All in all, i think the View have managed to produce a satisfactory sequel, although it is not in the same rich vein as ‘Hats off to the Buskers’. That said, it is still a good album as you listen to it more and more especially as it is a ‘grower’, but one would hope they will be able to recapture the form of their first effort in their next release.

By Alex Read,, 5th March 2009


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