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Reviews

The View
Which Bitch? Julian Marszalek , February 3rd, 2009 05:40

Recent celebrations of the demise of so-called landfill indie threaten to cloud the judgment over the works of any band that came into existence thanks to the slipstream of The Libertines. But then again, given the mighty quantities of cultural flotsam and jetsam that Doherty, Barat and the other two dredged up in their wake, could it be any other way? Consider the evidence: whither the laughable class warriors The Others? Whatever happened to perennial under achievers The Paddingtons? Or any number of urchins whose priorities lay not in creating art but wasting time and precious little talent in the end of a pipe and the puff of acrid smoke? Was that really the best that the UK music scene had to offer in the opening overs of the 21st century?

Add to the list Dundee pub band The View. Having hitched a ride on Pete Doherty’s coat tails, The View are now left standing alone and fending for themselves. Only they must know how Fagin’s waifs felt like after their leader was taken away for incarceration. Their last single, ‘5Rebeccas’, failed to scrape the Top 40 and that, with the marketing muscle of a major label behind them, really was something of an inverse achievement. Factor in a “back to basics” tour – surely the most inadvertently hilarious rock euphemism since Spinal Tap’s manager Ian Faith declared that the scaling down of venue sizes was down to the band’s appeal becoming “more selective” – and the writing really is on the wall in letters ten feet tall.

Owen Morris’ characteristically bombastic production – guitars, drums, everything going into the red and beyond – has undeniably given The View a sonic muscularity that’s a marked improvement on their debut, Hats Off To the Buskers, but it acts as a poor mask when attempting to disguise the band’s shortcomings as songwriters. Adopting an attitude that sees the lads throwing everything they can at the wall in the hope that something – just something – will stick, The View end up pleasing nobody.

'One Off Pretender' is an ill-advised diversion that puts the “c” into “rap” while coming off as little better than an argument between two pissheads over the last can of Diamond White. Elsewhere, the strings on 'Unexpected' give off the unmistakeable odour of desperation and the last throw of the dice. And, speaking of which, 'Temptation Dice' merits your attention if only to boast what is quite probably the worst guitar solo ever committed to posterity.

With the added dubious delight of the title’s not-so-casual sexism (it apparently alludes to Kyle Falconer’s inability to remember which female he’s addressing in each song), Which Bitch? isn’t just the sound of a coffin lid being nailed shut or a death knell in the middle distance but the unmistakable and prolonged splash of a flushing toilet.

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