Release Date: Mar 14, 2011
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Indicative of the increasing apathy toward traditional guitar bands, Scottish quartet the View became the poster boys for skinny-jeans indie with their 2007 Mercury Music Prize nominated debut, Hats Off to the Buskers, yet their follow-up, Which Bitch?, came and went without anyone really noticing just two years later. Hoping to steady their rather rapid decline, their third effort, Bread and Circuses, eschews the rather self-indulgent experimentation of the latter in favor of the rousing student-friendly rock of the former on a more focused and uncharacteristically sober affair that saw producer Youth (the Verve, Primal Scream) ban the notorious party animals from consuming any alcohol during its recording. The band hasn't completely abandoned its penchant for the bizarre, as evident on the kazoo-led oompah band finale "Witches" and the faux-inspirational spoken word intro from anarchic poet John Sinclair on the bravado-fueled "Best Lasts Forever," while there are unexpectedly brief flashes of synths on "Sunday" and disco-funk on the anti-religion tirade "Friend.
After the poor sales of [b]‘Which Bitch?[/b]’, [a]The View[/a] had to think seriously what was more important to them: the drugs or the music? Producer Owen Morris was burdened with the blame for the drug-fuelled cock-up, and Youth was drafted in to make the “slightly more sober” [b]‘Bread And Circuses’[/b]. The title alone might make you think the band have matured slightly, delving into politicised Roman metaphors. It’s not a surprise, then, that the guitar-swirling [b]‘Grace’[/b] bursts out the traps with the focused mind of a prize-winning greyhound.
Since their 2007 debut, Hats Off to the Buskers, crashed into the UK charts at No 1, Scottish four-piece the View have spent most of their time on the road, stopping briefly to record and release their 2009 follow-up, Which Bitch? Recorded under the not-so-watchful eye of Oasis producer Owen Morris, it was an album mired by a lack of focus, and stayed in the top 40 for just two weeks. For Bread and Circuses, Morris has been replaced by Youth, whose first job was to ban alcohol from the studio. For the most part, it seems to have helped.
Ambition gels with ability and strengths, producing magic results. Mark Beaumont 2011 The strict release structure of modern rock music – one album every couple of years, band dropped if they’re not serious contenders by album three – has encouraged the more stylistically ambitious acts to forget it took The Beatles seven albums to go from Please Please Me to Revolver and attempt a similar giant leap in just two. Such a band were Dundee’s The View, whose impressive but indigestible 2009 second album Which Bitch? was a sprawling hour meshing their melodic rock finesse with mariachi punk, pirate operettas, flute shanties and intoxicated brass experiments.