Sunday, 13 March 2011

Album Review: The View - Bread And Circuses

Album: Bread And Circuses
Artist: The View
Singles: Sunday (free download), Grace

I seem to have the opposite opinion to a lot of reviewers for this band - I think their second album, despite not being particularly coherent, was more interesting than their debut, Hats Off To The Buskers. After hearing the free download Sunday back in November 2010, it was clear they were taking a new direction, and it's paid off - the record sounds less rough around the edges (not always a bad thing, but...) and sounds generally stronger.

The brilliant first single hurtles in with a nice powerful guitar riff - the crowds will be going wild when they hear the first notes of this song. The chorus, "I'm a sober boy, and you're a lonely girl" is a huge anthemic affair that works brilliantly. The song ends abruptly, but makes its mark.

Underneath The Light
This one didn't grab me as instantly as Grace did. It sounds a little bit bouncier and takes a few listens before you get used to it. The chorus, on the other hand, is once again well-crafted (something that they have pretty much perfected on this album) and again you can imagine the crowds singing along: "And now we've kissed, let's make the most of this..." The middle section takes an odd turn that I still haven't warmed to, where it slows down and the line "Get out of line, go home" gets repeated. This is probably my least favourite on the album, but it's still quite a good song.

Tragic Magic
Luckily, my least favourite song is put right next to the one that is one of my two favourites. The production on this album really brings something to this song; it sounds cleaner in a way, and sounds all the stronger for it. Once again, you cannot deny that the band know their way round a chorus - "And it's just a case of tragic magic, when you can't remember feeling fantastic". At first it sounds like they've just stuck a few words that rhyme together for the sake of it, but when you know what the song is on about, you appreciate it more.

Opening with a piano and a guitar, the song sounds like it's going to be a slower affair, but then a doorbell rings (they seem to have enjoyed sticking special noises on this song - see "The door goes crash" *CRASH*), and suddenly the song turns into a catchier, more upbeat version of itself. This song wouldn't be that out of place on their debut album. Overall, however, this one of the less interesting songs on the album, but may still provide a decent sing-along at gigs.

A ballad - luckily, one that works nicely - slows down the pace set by the first four songs. Kyle Falconer's vocals are at their best on this song, and when backed by strings, the song takes a more emotional turn. Unexpected, but a good song nonetheless.

Continuing the penchant for one-word titles, Friend is a catchy song with another great chorus to match. The lyrics are slightly less interesting and not particularly diverse, but I can still picture the crowds singing along to "The girl that I've been speaking to all night has left me for my friend."

Halfway through, and we are treated to another catchy song, again reminiscent of their earlier work. Unfortunately, although at first it gets going, it doesn't really go anywhere interesting beyond that, but after a few listens (like a few songs on here) the song comes off better.

"I love it when you come, I love it when you go" opens Blondie, another highlight of the album. Although the sound of this track and the two before it are all different (this one has a sort of 80s vibe), it's still catchy and should work well live.

The free download given towards the end of 2010, despite my overplaying it in anticipation for the album, still remains one of the best on the album and should be released as a proper single at some point. The song has a slightly more electronic sound to it than their first two albums, but sounds like quite a joyful song with the piano riff that gets played over the top. Again, the song has quite an anthemic quality to it.

Sounding slightly darker as we head towards the end of the album, but builds up nicely to the chorus (which sounds big as usual) of "She's a real life girl in this fucked up world, and I suggest you call her the one." The formula is getting predictable and slightly repetitive now, but the song still stands up well on its own.

"I wasn't born to make you happy, I wasn't born to make you sad" are the first lyrics to this song. The drums come more to the foreground on this song, and sound quite powerful. The chorus comes around and a collection of voices come along to sing along. Again, the tried and tested formula is starting to wear thin a bit now, but on its own, the song is great.

Best Lasts Forever
Along with Tragic Magic, this is the best that is on offer from the album. Opening with about 45 seconds of spoken words before a piano comes in to announce the song beginning properly. Then in come the vocals: "I feel like a sun without a sky, feel like a socket without an eye" The chorus is probably the biggest one of the album, despite simply consisting of "The best lasts forever, oh-oh!" It's worth it to hear this song at the end of the album.

Witches (Hidden Track)
Five seconds separate the end of Best Lasts Forever and Witches. It's similar to Typical Time 1 & 2 from the first two albums; it's a little bit of random fun to close off the album. It feels slightly out of place after Best Lasts Forever, which is a brilliant closer, but this is a light-hearted little ending.

On the whole, this sounds different from the first two albums; it sounds like Youth's production has added something to the band's music, it's a bit more focused, and it's not particularly experimental - the formula works well though drags a bit towards the end. The choruses on the album are definitely the highlight and the anthemic quality they have will undoubtedly have the crowd shouting along.


Previous albums: Hats Off To The Buskers (7/10), Which Bitch? (8/10)

1 comment:

  1. The album is a Peach but definitely gets better the more that you listen to it! The View are on Fire.......