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The View - Which Bitch?

The View, Which Bitch?

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IN 2007, The View were on the cusp of very big things. Singles such as Superstar Tradesman and Same Jeans had won them widespread adoration, while Hats Off To The Buskers, their debut album, established them as a great guitar band.

But they went off the rails slightly and the follow-up didn’t emerge as quickly as many were expecting. Now that it’s finally arrived the good news is that it underlines their credentials as great guitarists, while simultaneously heralding a bolder new era.

While many of the songs on their debut stuck to the same formula, Which Bitch? finds them expanding their sound in interesting new directions. There are straight-forward rockers, breezy flights of fancy and sweeping orchestral arrangements. But everything still rocks!

Typical Time 2 opens with a cheeky nod to the final moments of Buskers, complete with mouth organ blasts and crazy piano loops, before blossoming into a really endearing, occasionally kooky indie-pop anthem. It establishes the upbeat vibe of proceedings in fine style.

Former single 5 Rebeccas then reminds you of their guitar prowess and dusts away the cobwebs emphatically with some stadium-sized power riffs that the Oasis brothers would be proud of. Kyle Falconer, meanwhile, re-establishes the cheeky vocal style we loved so much on Same Jeans with some blistering lyrics, including “the woman I love the most has turned into a junkie!”

There’s a semi-rapped style on the mid-tempo guitar anthem One Off Pretender, which boasts another emphatic chorus and some canny observations about being turfed into an Aberdeen jail cell for spurious reasons. The vocal style, though, underlines their intentions to mix things up.

And this is evident again amid the epic string section employed for Unexpected, a track that taps into the darker side of their songwriting and again impresses. It’s a mature lament about the unexpected death of Falconer’s father that really does resonate for anyone willing to give it a proper listen.

The pace picks up again for the rollicking guitar anthem Temptation Dice, which has a stonking central riff and a handclap back-beat style, while Glass Smash opens in almost orchestral fashion, before trading thumping drums with quickly delivered lyrics and wailing guitars.

The comes another of the album’s surprises, Distant Doubloon… a fully orchestral “sea shanty” that really disarms you with its ingenuity. It’s a ballsy mid-album interlude that stops you in your tracks – and while it may take some getting used to it, you have to admire its ambition, having been inspired by Falconer’s heavy rotation of the work of 19th century Austrian composer Gustav Mahler while they were writing this LP.

The surreal nature of Which Bitch? is maintained in elements of Jimmy’s Crazy Conspiracy, which confidently mixes the snappy guitars with a horn section, and Covers, a kooky, brass-infused observation on bickering with your girlfriend over the duvet cover.

But normal service is resumed on Double Yellow Lines, an easygoing, layered favourite that drops some of the best guitar work on the album, and Realisation, which has to rate as one of the album highlights, complete with rollicking acoustic guitar licks and formidable recorder overtones.

Final two tracks, Give Back The Sun and Gem Of A Bird round things off in similarly engaging style – both benefiting from the presence of some female co-vocals.

Indeed, there’s not really a dud among the 14 tracks, no matter how much they mix up the style, or change the established format. Just as they did with their spritely debut, The View have re-asserted themselves as one of the best indie-rock guitar bands of the moment. Which Bitch? is a triumphant return from them!

Download picks: 5 Rebeccas, Unexpected, Double Yellow Lines, Realisation, Give Back The Sun, One Off Pretender, Temptation Dice, Gem of A Bird

Track listing:

  1. Typical Time 2
  2. 5 Rebbecca’s
  3. One Off Pretender
  4. Unexpected
  5. Temptation Dice
  6. Glass Smash
  7. Distant Doubloon
  8. Jimmy’s Crazy Conspiracy
  9. Covers
  10. Double Yellow Lines
  11. Shock Horror
  12. Realisation
  13. Give Back The Sun
  14. Gem Of A Bird

  1. Just bought this album and am contsantly being surprised and shocked and delighted and whisked away to terrible scary wonderful new places every time I listen to it – fabulous, grown up, playful, detailed, complicated, challenging and entirely GRAND!

    Rebecca    Feb 6    #