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The View

{+ Kyle Falconer}

Not since the days of AWB (in the 70s) and The ASSOCIATES (in the 80s) has the Scots city of Dundee been quite so rife with potential pop scenesters. Dryburgh upstarts The VIEW were the new-kids-fi’-ra’-block (of flats), with frontman Kyle having the potential to become a `Superstar Tradesman’, one of the wee treasures from their fanciful “Hats Off To The Buskers” set which gate-crashed the No.1 spot in early 2007.
Cited by many pundits as the Scottish LIBERTINES, or SQUEEZE (they covered the latter’s `Up The Junction’ and The BEATLES’ `I’ve Just Seen A Face’), the outlook was indeed bright for The VIEW when the quirky quartet surfaced in 2005. In almost immediate competition with their Glasgow-based red-hot rivals, The FRATELLIS, The VIEW also had elements of retro surrounding their light but energy-addled indie-rock. Messrs Kyle Falconer (vocals/rhythm guitar), Peter Reilly (lead guitar), Kieren Webster (bass) and Steven Morrison (drums), got into gear on an eponymous EP, a record that showcased staple VIEW-masters, `Comin’ Down’, `Street Lights’ and the acoustic-led, `Face For The Radio’.
Encouraged by their early promise and a growing legion of young fans baying for their bods, Columbia licenced the band to their 1965 Records outlet, duly delivering the anthemic `Wasted Little DJ’s’ to the Top 20. Subsequent hits, `Superstar Tradesman’ and the unforgettable `Same Jeans’ (very “Brimful Of Asha”), struck up a guaranteed rapport with audiences nationwide, while the aforementioned debut album, HATS OFF TO THE BUSKERS (2007) {*8}, carried an urgency and originality that previous Caledonian combos might’ve lacked; `The Don’, `Skag Trendy’ and the ska-friendly `Wasteland’ were also fave raves, from an album that was quintessentially British.
That difficult sophomore album syndrome was again rearing its ugly head when it came to The VIEW’s follow-up, WHICH BITCH? (2009) {*5}. Sticking to their tried-and-testing formula of lad-ish indie-pop, the heavily-Highland-brogue-accented Kyle and Co shuffled and shimmied into the Top 5, albeit very briefly and with only minor success on the singles front by way of `5Rebbecca’s’ and `Shock Horror’; `Temptation Dice’ completely bombed.
Time to reflect on their ever-decreasing sales returns, third Top 20 album BREAD AND CIRCUSES (2011) {*6} was worked on by renowned producer, Youth. Led out by `Grace’ (generally missed by download buyers), and given a student-friendly party feel, the record tried to recount alcohol-fuelled nights of self-indulgence (`Tragic Magic’ and `Underneath The Lights’) or pop-dirge such as `Blondie’, `Sunday’ and one-that-got-away, `Life’ (dedicated to Kyle’s late mother).
Switching labels to the once folk-biased Cooking Vinyl, 2012’s CHEEKY FOR A REASON {*7} took the McFLY-meets-ARCTIC MONKEYS approach – and for the most part it worked, both critically and commercially. Judging by decent reviews of non-Scots journos, the punky power-pop of `How Long’ could brighten up any dull day north of the border, while songs for the terraces included `Anfield Row’, `Lean On My World’ and `Tacky Tattoo’.
Question: doesn’t the posturing Kyle look like a cross between Scots rock legends, ALEX HARVEY and DAN McCAFFERTY?
Postponed until Kyle was deemed fitter after a mysterious bout of illness, the ALBERT HAMMOND JR-produced ROPEWALK {*7} was released in early September 2015; timed neatly as not to coincide with a FRATELLIS set. Named after the Reeperbahn district in Hamburg where it was recorded and, as always, more popular north of the border, the near Top 20 album switched to sophistication and swooning pop-rock. If The VIEW had been of the 60s, they’d be The HOLLIES, the 70s probably SMOKIE or The UNDERTONES (which is no bad thing), and so on, but relevance in today’s austere pop industry… well, they still fall short of the mark – if America and the likes have anything to offer. Echoing retro-fied rock encompassing a raw edge and melody, the kidulthood brigade might just love dandy tracks such as `Under The Rug’, `Living’, `Psychotic’ and Penny’.
Fast-forward to June 2016, and KYLE FALCONER’s raucous behaviour on a return flight back from Barcelona. The rumpus caused the plane to divert to Nantes, and thus kicked up a wee fuss in the tabloids. Arrested in Glasgow just after the Jet2 hit the tarmac, the singer was later ordered to stump up legal fees of £9,000 and £1,000 in fines; he also entered rehab around this time; he was lucky not to be given a room without The VIEW. As things blew over, he and his band were probably wise to go on a hiatus in 2017.
The air-rage incident was all but put to one side when the curly one registered a Top 40 place for his debut album, NO THANK YOU (2018) {*7}. Very much in the mould of The LITTLE FLAMES (Alex Turner and Miles Kane), recent first-time father FALCONER attempted to fulfil his commitments to his loyal indie-pop followers. From singles `Poor Me’ and `Family Tree’, there was also a canny observational view-point a la the songs `Madonna’s Make Up’ and `Jekyll Down Your Hyde’. The following February, Kyle succumbed to the release of a covers EP, `Almost Pleasant’, in which he karaoke’d works by TINA TURNER (`What’s Love Got To Do With It’), SHANIA TWAIN (`Black Eyes, Blue Tears’), FLEETWOOD MAC (`Go Your Own Way’), RANDY NEWMAN (`You’ve Got A Friend In Me’) and CROWDED HOUSE (`Four Seasons In One Day’).
© MC Strong/MCS Jun2013-Jun2019

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