The View – ‘Bread And Circuses’ – Album review

Originally publish: Virgin Music

The age-old argument of guitar music being dead is as perennial a discussion as the genre is cyclical in the music media. 2010 was made redundant to a new rock revolution as reunions between the likes of The Libertines and Pavement numbed us with a sense of nostalgia, while dubstep unknowingly took us into a new decade of dance decadence. 2011 was being tipped as a return to form for guitar-driven music before the calendar year had even kicked in, yet we have seen the old (Oasis) repackaged as the new (Beady Eye), along with disposable (The Vaccines) and the boorish, retarded cousins of Britpop (Brother) making most of noise so far. Proving that you can’t polish a turd, especially when it’s been decomposing since the Nineties.

The View are less revolution and more revival upon their third album, ‘Bread And Circuses’, as they continue to read from a well-worn hymn sheet that the likes of The Libertines and the Gallagher brothers once did blow off. First single ‘Grace’ opens with all the punctuated hooks and lyrical delivery that have become accustomed with the Scottish four-piece. Lead singer Kyle Falconer promised fans earlier last year that the album would be “more articulate”, only to bleat on about love, drugs and Dundee’s nightlife in trivial rhyming couplets (“Let’s come to an agreement there’s no need to get the police involved / And mind a little headache can be cured by a little Resolve”). ‘Underneath The Lights’ kicks, stumbles and then falls flat on its face with a similarly belching and binge-drinking narrative. With the guitars stamping out chords at a flabby 4/4 pace, it does little to propel itself beyond its Supergrass harmonies and nocturnal disposition.

The album does have its sunnier moments. The sprawling sounds that carry ‘Walls’ into ‘Happy’ wave the post-Libertines flag with bravado, and ‘Life’ and ‘Friends’ endure a strange boy band demure. Stripped of any sagging sound or features that producer Youth (The Verve/Primal Scream) often fills the album with as The View aim for a bigger sounding, mature third album, these tracks are chiselled with a soft pop complexion that would sink any teen heart.

‘Bread And Circuses’ is more informed by its heroes than it is likely to inspire a new generation of guitar-wielding youths. Where it does reach out with a sprightly vigour that gets under your skin, it’s all a bit Pot Noodle guitar pop when it boils down to it – thin, instant and unsubstantial.

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