Album Reviews

The View – Hats Off To The Buskers

(1965) UK release date: 22 January 2007

A few years ago, you couldn’t move for bands whose main claim to fame was that they were ‘friends with The Libertines‘. Some went onto bigger things (Razorlight), some sank without trace (The Others). But they all had that link to Pete and Carl intact.

At first glance, you’d suspect The View of being a typical ‘post-Libertines’ band, only two years too late. After all, they’ve got the link to Pete Doherty (they handed their demo to Doherty who then personally invited them to support Babyshambles), they’ve got the raw, punky songs and even have a number called Skag Trendy.

The differences are just as important though. The View aren’t from Dalston, or even London – they’re from Dundee, a fact which shines through in every song. And you get the impression listening to this superbly focused debut album that there’s no chance of this lot imploding before they have a chance to take over the world.

Signed to the increasingly influential 1965 records and produced by Definitely Maybe producer Owen Morris, there’s a definite buzz about The View – a feeling that this really is their moment. Even their website is entitled The View Are On Fire, which takes some degree of confidence.

It’s a confidence that’s well placed – Morris does an extremely good job here of transferring the band’s extraordinary energy that’s displayed live into the studio. So opening track Comin’ Down soars in on an adrenaline fuelled rush, before a gloriously anthem guitar riff kicks off Superstar Tradesman. If you got your mate to stand on the dining room table and jump off, it would almost be like having The View play live in your front room.

Lead singer Kyle Falcolner makes no effort to hide his Scottish accent, which some may think is passe after 12 months or so of flat Yorkshire vowels in the charts, but just adds to the authentic atmosphere. Wasted Little DJs has a chorus that seems incomprehensible (“they’re the glamourest blondes we ken” possibly?) but is still made to bellow along to at the top of your voice, Scottish or otherwise.

The band’s lyrics deal with life in Dundee, in a similar vein to Arctic Monkeys‘ tales of Sheffield, be that wearing the same pair of jeans four days in a row (Same Jeans), the sad tale of a teenager lost to heroin in Skag Trendy (“He had a girlfriend she was very, very, very nice/Walks by him now, won’t look at him twice”), or even finding too big a queue at the local chip shop in Gran’s For Tea.

Those lyrics are matched, in the main part, by some superbly hummable tunes and choruses that stick in your head for weeks, if not months. While the singles that have been released so far are probably the best tracks (with the breezy, harmonica driven Same Jeans being the pick of the bunch), there’s plenty more delights to be found in the early Oasis soundalike of Don’t Tell Me and the excellent Face For The Radio, where a reflective, laid-back melody masks some vitriolic lyrics (“He watches Trainspotting, fifteen times a week, thinking it’s making him oh so unique”)

At fourteen tracks, Hats Off To The Buskers is possibly a bit overlong, and there are a couple of tracks during the second half of the album which could probably have been left off to give the record a more tighter focus. Yet there’s enough talent here to suggest that the hype around The View at the moment is thoroughly justified – hats off to them indeed.

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More on The View
The View – Ropewalk
The View – Bread & Circuses
The View @ KOKO, London
The View – Which Bitch?
The View – Hats Off To The Buskers