Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Which Bitch? review

Rated 7/10

Choice Cut: Typical Time 2, 5Rebbeccas, Temptation Dice, Distant Doubloon, One Off Pretender, Glass Smash

"The View?" one asks. Isn't that the show where middle-aged women sit around a table talking? Well, yes. Obvious jokes aside, one could be forgiven for not having heard of The View - a relatively new indie band who has earned rave reviews for their 2007 debut, Hats Off To The Buskers. 2 years on, they're back with their sophomore album, the somewhat inappropriately-titled Which Bitch? (In case you're wondering, singer Kyle Falconer explains that it's short for "Which bitch am I singing about in which song?" Yeah.)

For the uninitiated, their sound, an eclectic, frantic mix of indie, post-punk and pop, reminds one of The Libertines or The Fratellis, and indeed the lads from Dundee have been touted as one of the successors to The Libertines' throne. Big shoes to fill, I'm sure. 

Their follow-up effort, then, deserves some credit. Not content to simply replicate the same sound as before, write a dozen more songs for the fans to lap up and call it a day, The View gives us a much different-sounding album compared to Hats Off. The same gleeful irreverence so evident in the album title is sprinkled throughout the album with singles like "5Rebbeccas" and the rap-rock hybrid "One Off Pretender". 

Their songs, about rip-roaring anecdotes such as accidentally visiting a brothel instead of a hostel only shows just how much fun they're having on this album, and the music only backs this up. Shallow? Maybe a little, but it's still more refreshing than the zillionth depressing song about how fame's changed the band forever. The View definitely sounds like a band who's having nothing but fun, and this cheerful exuberance extends to their music as well, with a wide and varied mix of sounds - from old West style saloon music, "Typical Time 2" opening the album, to the distinctly pirate-inspired "Distant Doubloon", easily one of the highlights of the album. 

"Which Bitch?" does have its share of faults, though - while it's great that The View experiments with lots of different sounds on this album, it could be more than the sum of its parts. It begins to drag midway through the album with somewhat uninspiring songs like "Covers" and "Shock Horror". 

Overall though, it's a gamble that pays off. Even though it wobbles somewhat in the middle, the creative and vivid imagery behind Which Bitch? proves The View is no flash in the extremely hot pan of the music industry. The View looks good from here.

By Lai Han-Wei, MTV Asia, 20th May 2009


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