The View have created a mini-media sensation because they are supposedly the next big thing. Friends with Pete Doherty, they sent him a demo which he passed on to his manager who subsequently took these boys from Dundee, Scotland on. They then toured in support of Doherty’s Babyshambles. And then came the hysteria lead by the NME (as always).
And it’s easy to see why. Catchy pop lyrics coupled with musical energy, punkiness and straight down the line British rock and roll mean that the View are the band that the Libertines should have become. Personal drug issues and artistic differences mean that we may never see the Libs in that way again, but in the View the nation’s youth now has a worthy band to focus time and energy on.
As you’ll no doubt be aware, reviewers at Rockbeatstone are wary of hype and the distortion that this brings. When reviewing a record we try to do it on it’s own merits. And after having listened to this record for a good few weeks now, I can calmly say that this record is good. Very good even. Just not as amazingly awesome as some of the reviewers may be suggesting.
There’s a lot of pop ambition on display. Much like the Fratellis (the last musical sensation touted by the NME), they have a knack for the popular rock song. However, unlike the Fratellis, they actually seem to have produced more believable songs which leads the listener to a fuller, richer and more real experience. In fact this can be seen best in the fact that their heavy Scottish accents are not hidden under some faux-American drawl, where as the Fratellis have used this technique on many, if not all of their songs.
The album launches at 100 miles-per-hour with ‘Comin’ Down’ and continues for most of the album at that pace. ‘Superstar Tradesman’, ‘Same Jeans’, ‘Skag Trendy’, and ‘Wasted Little DJs’ are all songs worthy of mention. Tales of debauched Saturday nights out, of musical misfits, of the working class pub-goer work a treat in this context. These are tunes not as poetic as the Libertines or Doherty, but rooted in a Scottish no-nonsense upbringing and resemble in many respects the music of the Arctic Monkeys in this regard. For me this down to earth view of Britain in 2006 makes the songs more accessible than the Libertines tunes ever were, which were sometimes clouded by Doherty’s poetic ambitions. Surely a better springboard to mainstream success.
The major criticism that I have with the album is the fact that the quality is inconsistent. Perhaps the band would have benefited from another six months song-writing time. ‘Dance into the Night, ‘Claudia’ and especially ‘Streets Lights’ just sound like filler. Nothing more and nothing less. However, the band have produced enough on Hats Off to the Buskers to prove that they have real talent and flair for a tune. Had the album been four to five songs shorter (or four to five songs better), we may have had a true modern classic album on our hands. Let’s hope that they can remedy this for the difficult second album.