A more grown-up sound permeates this fourth LP from the Dundee quartet.
Martin Aston 2012
Who knows where the time goes? Not so long ago, The Libertines were a generational voice, Britain’s response to The Strokes’ garage-punk rekindling; and Dundee’s The View were The Libertines’ kid brothers, poster-boys for a deathless brand of teenage rebellion.
What a difference only six years make. The View’s 2007 debut Hats Off to the Buskers was no Up the Bracket; following albums Which Bitch? and Bread and Circuses were relative non-events; and the band has signed to Cooking Vinyl, a label well known for rescuing acts that have surpassed their moment in the sun.
Yet Cheeky for a Reason charted this week at number nine. Yes, even with a title like Cheeky for a Reason. The message: you can stick your chillwave, your extreme-noise hip hop and your operas about Elizabethan alchemists up your blogsphere. The View are popular for a reason.
The new album title is ironic, though, because this is more of a grown-up View. With its wistful undertow and sombre guitars, The Clock is miles from the tinny rasp and slurred Dundee patois of early singles such as Wasted Little DJs.
Free of drums, guitar and bluster, Tacky Tattoo’s sad-ballad poise is a defining closing statement and a fine showcase for Kyle Falconer’s bruised, sandpapery vocal. There is even a piano interlude, titled, with enormous bravado, Piano Interlude. There is no track, musically or lyrically, that recalls Skag Trendy.
But if this is the grown-up View, it’s still The View. How Long and Bunker (Solid Ground) tap their cheeky Gaelic folk-punk DNA (the latter keeps threatening to mutate into The Proclaimers’ 500 Miles). Bullet is generically terrace-rowdy and, right at the very end, the hidden 30-second snippet is Falconer at the pub piano, shattering Tacky Tattoo’s tender mood and reminding us that The View are still juvenile at heart.
At this stage, the band has yet to be damned with either the Dadrock or Landfill Indie labels. Only time will tell if they end up at the bottom of either canyon, or find a more fulfilling path in between.