Sunday, 1 May 2011

Review: The View - Bread And Circuses

I first heard The View about four or five years ago when they found success with the singles 'Superstar Tradesmen' and 'Same Jeans'. I missed the second album, but about a month or so ago they put out their thrird album entitled 'Bread and Circuses'.

Produced by Youth, this is an impressive and mostly consistent piece of work. And also the sound of a band who are too good to be considered 'pop' yet too uncool to be classed as 'alternative', and will probably stay that way because that's what suits them. Opening track 'Grace' sounds strangely like a hybrid of 'Making Your Mind Up' by Bucks Fizz and Meatloaf's 'Bat Out Of Hell', yet despite this it still rocks playfully and brings a smile to the face. 'Underneath The Lights' has a strong Britpop vibe, complete with a storming 'Digsy's Diner'-esque rhythm, in fact the vibe is so mid 90's you expect The Kick Horns to come in at any point. The strong Scottish phrasing of the lyrics on 'Tragic Magic' adds a nice touch to the pleasantly sad melodies, and 'Girl' is light, breezy slightly country-ish indie pop. There are some lovely string arrangements on 'Life', which is a soaring, hands-in-the-air moment, slightly reminiscent of Hurricane #1 or even (the better aspects of) Richard Ashcroft's solo work. 'Friend' sees the album's brilliance dimmed with it's weak and uninspired lyrics, which even the sleek disco of the chorus can't save from becoming a drag.

'Beautiful' brings to mind The Smiths (particularly 'What Difference Does It Make') but with another big sunny Britpop chorus, which sounds brilliant when touched by Youth's masterful production. 'Blonde' begins a bit like the Strokes playing 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' and has a high pitched guitar hook that sounds familiar but which I can't pinpoint where it came from originally. Great song though. In a style completely contrasting with the rest of the album 'Sunday' begins like a little bit of a Kraftwerk homage before the drums come in and the song quickly becomes drowned by its boringness, but then the best comes just when you think the album is going to be slipping downhill. Firstly we get 'Walls', where the tone gets darker but extremely catchy (a bit like The Coral if they weren't so mellow), and again the huge chorus strongly resembles another song that I cannot identify. Perhaps it's the instant nature of the choruses that make you think you've heard it somewhere before.

And while the accessible pop hooks are still ever present, the darker tone of the album continues into 'Happy' which is similar to what a Scottish Kinks would've sounded like, as the vocal performance reaches a peak and the guitars step into higher gear. Then comes the album's climax, the massive 'The Best Lasts Forever', which can best be described as The View's showstopping epic, a charming waltz-time anthem and possibly the band's best moment to date. And the album's not quite over yet, because then follows a silly but rather brilliant oompah number about witches, which sounds a bit like the enjoyable nonsense Ringo used to sing in the Beatles.

I was never a HUGE fan of this group first time round and to be honest I didn't expect much from this album. It turns out a pleasant surprise was in store. Definitely worth giving a chance. 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment