Which Bitch

Having exhausted the length and breadth of the country with an immense tour consisting of thirty-five gigs last year – thankfully there wasn’t one in Birmingham – The View have already announced another set of tour dates for this year to accompany the release of their new album, Which Bitch. Aha. the name alone should immediately start great big alarm bells frantically ringing in your head. It doesn’t exactly inspire much hope in terms of musical excellence, if any at all. Moreover, the fact that your fourteen-year-old sister is already raving about it should prompt you to listen to the bells and call some form of emergency service, quick.

Their last album, Hats off to the Buskers, having reached number one in 2007, the band surely have high hopes for their second release. And, credit where credit’s due, there are several moments on the record which do deserve a smattering of praise. ‘Unexpected’ tugs tentatively at a few heartstrings with its doleful lyrics and poignantly beautiful strings, whilst ‘Distant Doubloon’ is drenched in a kind of Victorian barrow-boy charm that makes you instantly wary of pickpockets. Yet there are some truly barrel-scraping and, quite literally, laughable moments. If you’ve missed your bus, spent half an hour waiting in the rain, arrived at your lecture late and then realised that you’ve left your essay at home, ‘One Off Pretender’ will brighten up such a nightmarish day with its frank preposterousness. It starts reasonably enough, but then, before you know it, the song launches into a quite unwarranted Streets-esque rap about living life rough in a drugs-filled, chewing gum-splattered, crime-soaked sphere. The song even attempts to indulge in a bit of politics, making statements about freedom and the government and goodness knows what else.

A few very blatant attempts to be The Libertines also manifest themselves in the forms of ‘Temptation Dice’ and ‘Glass Smash’. ‘Gem of a Bird’, the final song on the album, is a semi-acoustic, sunny little tune which lifts your spirits from the depths to which they have sunk, and for a moment makes you forget how incredibly average the whole album is. That is until about half way through the song, when that ends and is instead replaced by a hallucinatory, head-warping noise that makes you feel like you’re drunk and listening to someone’s distant conversation. It really is one of the most bizarre ways to end an album that has no affiliation with such psychedelica.

The instrument budget for this album is obviously greater than that of the debut – they have harmonicas and whistling and strings as well as guitars – but there is just something not quite right about it all. It’s like the patchwork quilt that your slightly short-sighted grandmother has knitted you, or a jigsaw put together by a two-year-old; none of the songs really fit together. It’s almost as if they want to find a new sound but are being pulled in a dozen different directions at once, arms and legs and guitar strings splayed everywhere. Unfortunately, knowing the NME-fuelled hype surrounding the band, it is likely that the album will be seized upon by the majority of the teenage population and reach heights that it is really too short to contemplate.

“The View, The View, The View are on fire!” their fans will chant once more.

Oh look boys, it’s started raining.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.