Monday, February 23, 2009
Sometimes the value of an album can be summed up by the quality of its title. The View succeed in illustrating all that is wrong with the hype machine that seems to churn out similarly-influenced Brit-pop NME-approved bands whose egos find a foothold in an increased budget for a second album. In their case The View’s debut Hats Off To The Buskers was a number one and a breath of some sort of air to the Scottish indie scene. That so many people still seem willing to play along with this British circus of 1.Hype-to-death, 2.Exploit, 3.Slag off and 4.Refer to ironically, seems unfathomable. The View are most certainly part of this cycle and Which Bitch? puts them mid-way between ‘exploit’ and ‘slag off’.
With their appealing Scottish accents and evocative arrangements from Oliver Krauss, The View could be something interesting but instead sound like The Proclaimers fronting a late-period The Libertines. Singer and lyricist Kyle Falconer’s voice is really a matter of taste; sometimes forcing you to take a guided tour of hometown Dundee, other times hopelessly pretentious with his scope and while fleshing out and out his obsession with drink, drugs and girls, especially girls on drugs or drunk. Some will love this very British and very confident album; the shouty choruses of its obvious singles (5Rebeccas and Shock Horror), sea shanty-flavour other songs give and possibly the several minutes of pointless arsing around in the studio with a delay pedal that concludes the album.
You can almost feel the chip grease run down your arm when holding the CD it is an evocative album of the band’s hometown and lifestyle, it’s just not really an appealing lifestyle, evoked by people who have much to say, poor voices and musicianship to say it with and via rote production from Owen Morris (Oasis, The Verve) and Falconer himself. Most memorable points are those when Krauss is allowed to get creative with arrangements such as on Glass Smash and Distant Dubloon. There will be worse offenders of British lad-rock this year and points should be given for sticking to their roots, it’s just that the downside to sticking to your roots - the ego-massaging big-fish-small-pond conundrum - sounds like it’s behind some of the egotistic oversights that frequently crop up and drag this album back to mediocre forgettable lad rock. Better will come.