Why did it have to be this way? The View enter their fifth album with dangerously low expectations. On the studio front they have been anonymous since their horrid sophomore effort "Which Bitch?" and yet this latest release "Ropewalk" is somehow their fifth time entering the studio.The reasoning behind this albums existence is highly questionable with the likeliest answer being an excuse to tour again.
Yes, the View despite being total failures for nearly a decade somehow still manage to sell out gigs in their home nation Scotland with ease. They must set the record for the quickest time for a group to turn into a legacy band. The View have to take most of the blame for this, offering nothing new in this time period to indicate that they are anything more than the band that made "Same Jeans", and this latest half arsed effort takes things to downright cringeworthy lows.
The highest praise that can be given to songs on this album is averageness. The introduction of Strokes supremo Albert Hammond Jnr has done little to increase the value of this album however this should have been obvious already by AHJ's deeply average solo material."Under the rug" the albums first track its probably the best song on the album, its guitars have some nice distortion and Falconer's vocals are bearable. It is a fairly solid pop rock single and could be likened to a pretty bad One Republic album track.
Next comes "Marriage"...
Marriage was the first song released from this album and it has left a wave of stink wherever it goes,even the biggest of View fans can't argue that this track is absolutely horrific. Its riffs are so shallow and depressing, the production is rotten, Falconer sounds demented and the lyrics are the work of a songwriter that has very clearly lost his way. The "story" of the song is shredded and grinded and squished to fit into its laughable excuse of a chorus, a gift to the people that are unfortunate enough to see this song performed live in that it's easy to sing along too if you can hold back laughter. Who knows what the combination of failures were that turned this song from one that should never have been released to the lead single of their album.
Many of the other songs on this album sink into mediocrity and are barely worth talking about. The tired, dated riffs are complemented by the shockingly bad lyrics and voice of Kyle Falconer. Seriously what happened to his voice? From the almost angelic serenades of "face for the radio" to some of the snarling truly abhorrent voals on this albums track “Penny.” This song hits like a brick to the temple...in that it leaves you with permanent brain damage. It also features one of the staples of an indie band starving for attention and innovation with it changing up tempos and blasting into choruses at seemingly random moments. Funnily enough however this fails massively with the View not being the first band to manage to subvert musical sequences that have been around for millennia.
Most of the rest of the album is mild, dreary, bullshit that leaves a poor state, the first time the band have come close to changing their sound they replace it with the scrags left over from Twin Atlantic with a lot of the album sounding like a poor rendition of their also pretty terrible sound.
No one should listen to this, I feel for everyone that has had to listen to this so far and I can be glad in saying that at the very least not many people will hear it as its gonna disappear extremely quickly. With any luck so will The View. Dominic Allan