The View - Seven Year Setlist (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
IF there was ever any doubt that The View were a great band, then this greatest hits collection erases them. It’s a glorious reminder of their effortlessly appealing track record to date, as well as evidence of why they continue to deliver great songs.
This is a band that has made a career out of combining catchy choruses with blistering guitar hooks, while serving up the odd surprise in the form of darker or more tender tracks that showcase a genuinely eclectic Scottish outfit.
Says vocalist and guitarist Kyle Falconer of the decision to release a retrospective: “Over the years there’s been four studio albums, thousands of gigs, too much vodka and loads of memories on this crazy rock n’ roll journey. So, we wanted to create an album that was kinda like stopping and looking back over the years – with a few new tracks too. That’s the Seven Year Setlist.”
In some cases, the highlights speak for themselves. Face For The Radio, with its breezy acoustic strumming and cheeky lyricism, served early notice of a band with bags of potential (it originally featured on their self-titled debut EP which was released in 2006), while Same Jeans is just so damn cool and catchy that it never gets old. How many times have you found yourself singing along with the “I’ve had the same jeans on for four days now…” whenever it’s played? The combination of harmonica and guitar is a blast, as is the mix of breezy verses and harder hitting choruses.
Another song from that debut album, Hats Off To The Buskers, Superstar Tradesman also belts out the riffs amid strong melodicism to underline their penchant for delivering grit with tenderness.
Grace opens like a classic Beatles cut before dropping in some thunderous drums and a thrilling guitar hook, 5 Rebeccas is a rip-roaring rocker that aspires to Oasis-sized riff-making, How Long is another blast of romance-driven energy (“how long has it been since you fell in love with a boy like me”) and Skag Trendy is a boisterous mosh-pit trailblazer that contains elements of punk.
But while known for their faster tracks, The View can also change pace nicely too. Tacky Tattoo (from the critically-acclaimed Cheeky For A Reason LP) offers up a melancholy, organ-led lament about the emotional cost of an affair. It’s brilliantly downbeat.
And there’s even experimentation on the orchestral Distant Doubloon, which retains the band’s ability to have fun while sounding almost completely different by virtue of its string arrangements.
There’s three new songs too. Standard leads the way and is another breezy blast of brilliance that recalls the guitar sound of The La’s while dropping another glorious chorus, Kill Kyle opens the album with an instantly catchy offering that again combines moments of melodic tenderness with boisterous guitar-driven energy and Dirty Magazine drops in towards the end with a song that showcases their maturity, combining guitars and strings for the type of song that Oasis would love to call their own. It’s brilliant – dark, catchy, moody and utterly memorable.
If you’ve not yet invested in an album from The View, then this is a great place to start. It’s a magnificent Seven Year Setlist.
Download picks: Tacky Tattoo, Dirty Magazine, Same Jeans, Superstar Tradesman, Standard, Kill Kyle, How Long