Album Reviews

Long-View – Mercury

(14th Floor) UK release date: 21 July 2003

For a debut album Mercury issurprisingly moody and world-weary. On the one handit’s perfect music to accompany a Sunday morning, buton the other it lacks zest and energy, requiringlittle or no effort.

When listening to Longview,other bands come to mind immediately, for singer RobMcVey’s voice has strong elements of Dovesfrontman Jimi Goodwin, not to mention a flavour ofElbow‘s Guy Garvey and Gene‘s MartinRossiter. In fact, several of the songs here resemble ahalf-speed Caught By The River, as indeed the band areon the reverse sleeve photo.

If this sounds not too complimentary so far, this album is certainly not all bad, for while my first response to Mercury was more of a non-response,subsequent listens started to drill the tunes into myhead. Current single Further is one of them,containing an impressive grandeur rarely foundelsewhere, and so is I Would, a very slow butheartfelt statement held together by McVey’s emotionalinput. Most impressive is Can’t Explain, a subtle,piano-led verse leading into a powerful chorus of “hoursturn to days, days turn to years.”

Unfortunately, there’s a cloud to each of these silver linings.When You Sleep rocks clumsily, Nowhere goes exactly where its title implies and Falling For You contains a sweetly-sung but out of place backing vocal from Sarah Shawcross. Longview tend to rely too much on the same chord progression and, as far as texture goes, Further is pretty much a blueprint forthe whole album, which is a shame because the piano should have enjoyed more use.

So there are mixed feelings on this one. Whilst I’m generally underwhelmed by Longview’s debut, it’s easy to see how it could worm its way into thebedrooms of many an Elbow fan.

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More on Long-View
Interview: Long-View
Long-View – Subversions
Long-View @ ULU, London
Long-View – Mercury