Upon the announcement that this album was to be recorded in Hamburg under the guidance of The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Junior, it was fairly hard to keep expectations from sky-rocketing. Perhaps it was entirely justified that so much was expected of a band that have otherwise been overshadowed by artists of a similar ilk. In fact, the biggest difficulty The View have found is being able to break the border into England. A band that can sell out several nights at The Barrowlands last year, but be largely unheard of aside from “Same Jeans” down in the South of England. Ropewalk may well be the record that quashes that theory, and the cheeky young Scots have entered a different dimension. Released on Cooking Vinyl, the album is opened with “Under The Rug”, an opening effort that appears to take inspiration from the 1970s, we already know Kyle is a big fan of that decade, and Fleetwood Mac especially. It’s catchy, it’s infectious, and it’s just the start. It’s very much Classic The View, which is a tough misleading. Second song Marriage came out earlier this year, out of the midst of Kyle Falconer’s treatment in Thailand for reported drug and alcohol problems. You can only expect that the single will now get a second lease of life as part of this album.
Living is my personal favourite, it’s reminiscent of ‘Sunday’ and ‘Grace’, perhaps two of their best ever singles. It’s bursts out of the record with prominent guitar and drums, this is good music.
Cracks caught me by surprise, a vocal switch to guitarist Kieren Webster is mirrored similarly in live performances. The versatility of The View provokes confusion as to why they haven’t ever quite made that breakthrough. Tenement Light is punky if anything, there’s a hint of first album-View there if you look hard enough, but as far as this album goes it’s about as different to the norm as it gets, it’s a gamble that pays-off.
Penny gives a nod to their Celtic roots, a foot-stomping anthem that dives between keys and rhythm with the impression that it’s unsettled and chaotic, but it’s arguably the best constructed track on Ropewalk.
It may be their most diverse album yet, and its closes with rapturous Voodoo Doll. They’ve taken their quirkiness, added 70s flair and bolder lyrics. It’s a step in a different direction and one that was absolutely worth that 3 year wait.
They begin a 16-date tour in Aberdeen on Tuesday 15th, culminating in 3 nights at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room. In between, there’s dates in Newcastle (17th), London (23rd) and Carlisle’s brand new venue at The Old Fire Station on Thursday 1st October. Take a look here.