posted on June 10, 2009 19:00
A review of the album 'Which Bitch?' by The View
Review Snapshot: A failed attempt by the 'Dundonian upstarts' to recreate the magic of their debut album, 'Hats Off to the Buskers.' In the words of all of our favourite teachers, 'a good effort, but a lot more work is needed.'
The Cluas Verdict? 4 out of 10
I recall listening to an excellent album in 2007 which shaped my summer, this album was 'Hats off to the Buskers', the debut album from ambitious Scots The View. It was a personal portrayal of working-class life and the lyrics and music were immeasurably perfect. My hopes were high for their follow up 'Which Bitch?' They needn't have been.
Evidently life has changed for the band since the success of their debut. In particular, the lead singer Kyle Falconer moved out of his Dundee council-estate family home into a central London apartment. Surely this would cause progression in the band's music? It's apparent from the outset of the album that The View are desperately trying to retain the 'working-class, hard life' attitude that dominated their first album. It was believable then. It's not believable now.
Tracks such as 'Double Yellow Lines' and '5Rebeccas' make for dull listening, rarely showing any stand-out melodies or lyrics. It's nearly impossible to engage with these songs, they're not even vaguely memorable and are easily forgotten. It's evident they've tried, but perhaps a bit too hard?
Ballad 'Unexpected' is a poignant addition to the album. Falconer wrote it about his father, who passed away from cancer when he was a child. Violins and cellos add to the already emotive song, effectively portraying the despair Falconer must have felt at the time. It's a heart-wrenching track, with lyrics such as 'You would lead a shortened life/cause your light was running low.'
Their latest single 'Temptation Dice' is arguably the best track here with a Libertine-esque catchy riff and an overall danceable tune. The lyrics may be indecipherable at times, but it seems to complement the music perfectly. In this song they caught the essence of their first album that was somehow lost along the way.
Paolo Nutini was recording his new album in a studio in Wales near to where The View were recording 'Which Bitch?' They, wisely, roped him into collaborating with them on the track 'Covers', beautifully singing with Falconer and giving the album a lift. This track is definitely a high-point on 'Which Bitch?', it has real emotion and is noticeably different to every other track on the album. It is, in contrast to several other tracks, memorable and somewhat redeems the otherwise lifeless album.
'Realisation' is, without a doubt, the album's worst track. Bassist Kieron Webster takes on singing duties for most of this track, but the song just seems so long , even though it's only 3:41 in length. It seems very rushed, and it's difficult to tell what 'style' they were trying to go for. A disappointment at best. One redeeming grace on this track is the acappella line 'Take for granted Eagers omen/Stories lost its moment.' It's all in harmony and is sublime. I can't help but think that if they'd paid as much attention to the rest of the song as they did this line, it could be something wonderful.
Overall, 'Which Bitch?' is lacking in the musical genius which was present in The View's first album. I hold out hope that this album was mainly experimental, and that any future releases will contain the excitable, emotional rollercoaster they portrayed in the past.