Indie sleaze’s most erratic ragamuffins announced their reformation back in May this year with an event described as “a brotherly bust-up that went to far” as fists flew onstage in Manchester between frontman Kyle Falconer and bassist Kieran Webster, proving to their listening public that, spiritually, all as is the violently affectionate same as it’s ever been in The View’s camp, but how does their ramshackle fare bear up as the Scottish lads bash rogueishly on into their second decade of tunesmithery with latest record ‘Exorcism of Youth’?
Pretty fucking well is the simple answer. Geared up by super-producer Youth (The Verve, Embrace, Marilyn Manson, U2, The Sugarcubes, The Orb, Beth Orton, Paul McCartney, the list could go on) the Dundee boys haven’t put aside the scratchy toilet venue anthems that got them on the radio, bangers like ‘Wonder Of It All’ and ‘Woman of the Year’ remaining as loud and peppy as anything from their debut masterpiece, but their calamitous edges have definitely been sandpapered down, with exhilarating effect.
The record’s opening title track and ace lead single ‘Feels Like’ trade in their younger incarnation’s brittle punk rock for warm Teenage Fanclub sonancy, making sure to let a skuzzy riff come blasting in, in case we needed a reminder of what they were always about. Tales of drugs, shagging and bloody noses are lower down on the agenda, although still here, but the simple philosophy found on ‘Allergic To Mornings’ (“if you’re allergic to mornings wake up in the afternoon”) suggests this is a band less looking to seek out trouble and more eager to glory in the gleeful ‘Arctic Sun’.
Darkness still looms on the horizon, the ominous and kind of spooky ‘Shovel In His Hands’ declares “The devil is a cracking dancer”, ‘Black Mirror’ takes a sombre, polished pop look at the ravages of partying on mental health and ‘Neon Lights’ scours some Doors-ey 60s rhythm and blues moods, yet Falconer’s voice, more powerful and confident than it’s ever been, lends itself masterfully to this collection of roughed up stadium rock gems.
The vocoder and synth fuelled reflective closer ‘Tangled’ is maybe the best evidence of how far The View have come, pensively noting “I was tangled up in fears, I couldn’t find the words to say/Then I realised I was dreaming, and all the pain it went away” – grubby, stirring and every bit relatable. And very much still on fire.
‘Exorcism of Youth’ was released on 18th August 2023 and is likely to trouble the very most upper reaches of the charts this week. Released on Cooking Vinyl, you can order it right now, on CD, vinyl or digital download. It’s also available on all the steaming platforms.
You can see the video for ‘Woman Of The Year’ below: