The View – Bread And Circuses (2011): Review

Hack Stats

Q Magazine – 8
BBC Music – 8
NME – 6
The Guardian – 6
The Hackskeptic – 6
Mojo – 4
Uncut – 4

Average – 6/10

The biggest reservation with The View’s predecessor (“Which Bitch”) and its crushing sales failure was partly due to the fact that it was sonically too ambitious for its audience. Whilst their breakthrough success on “Hats Off To The Buskers” had come via simple ramshackle but fun indie pop, the follow up travelled into swirling tides of overreaching experimentation into rap, pirate shanties, old time music halls, orchestral sweeps, and an odd collaboration with safe pop star Paolo Nutini. Album number three largely returns to the familiarity of their debut, be it with a new producer (Youth), and a sound that appears to have matured to mix the galloping Libertines inspired raucous throwaways with a new found adult rock intensity that relies on strong song writing and more intricate arrangements.

The opener and second single “Grace” jubilantly recalls every facet that made Kyle Falconer’s four piece the festival must see’s of 2007. Lead single “Sunday” attempts the same, but lacks the hook. The attempts to find their missing mojo lead to some gaping mis-fires and “Underneath The Lights”, “Girl” and “Witches” sound more akin to The Fratelli’s sterilized pub rock, all be it with Scottish enunciation. Much more satisfying are the richly produced grown up rock epics “Life” and the fist waving “Best Lasts Forever”.

One wonders if “Bread And Circuses” will reverse The View’s fortunes. The summer festivals may be a final hurrah, and an indication as to the possibilities of album number four. This collection is unlikely to return the band to previous commercial heights, but at least gets Falconer and co. back on track.

6/10

Track By Track rating

1 Grace 8
2 Underneath the Lights 4
3 Tragic Magic 7
4 Girl 4
5 Life 8
6 Friend 7
7 Beautiful 6
8 Blondie 5
9 Sunday 6
10 Walls 5
11 Happy 7
12 The Best Lasts Forever 7`

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