Thursday, August 31, 2023

The View Grow Up with 'Exorcism of Youth'

The View, an indie rock-pop trio from Dundee, Scotland, has released their sixth studio album, ‘Exorcism Of Youth’, to varied reviews. Not as hardcore indie rock as they used to be, a bit more mainstream yet also a bit more polished, a bit more practised, a bit more… normal?

‘Exorcism Of Youth’ represents a maturation of the band’s style and presentation. Known for their energetic and raw indie rock anthems, Kyle FalconerKieren Webster, and Pete Reilly have focused more on melody and lyrics, producing something that, ironically, would likely appeal to a broader audience than their tendency to forge their own path would suggest.

The View’s recent altercation on stage in Manchester might have done them some favours in terms of publicity, demonstrating that their edgy image hasn't been entirely lost. The band actually split up in 2017 and has since played a number of 'comeback' gigs. Thus, the on-stage altercation and the new album are possibly part of the same process of the band discovering a more mature way to convey their stories, as well as finding their way back into the media spotlight, with all its associated pressures and expectations.

The album opens with its title track, a song that encapsulates its title by commenting on the challenges that must be faced when transitioning from youth to whatever comes next: “I hope you make it to another place / Never throw away another rainy day / Looking into fire can always lead / To better days.” It’s a message to treasure the difficult times as well as the smooth ones in the unpredictable journey of life.

The album navigates through various themes, from the struggles of transitioning into adulthood to the complexities of relationships and the ever-changing world around us. Tracks like the McFly-esque ‘The Wonder of It All’ and ‘Black Mirror’ delve into the introspective journey of self-discovery, while ‘Woman Of The Year’ tells a story of the perils of addiction, and ‘Neon Lights’ paints a picture of social desolation or isolation—both intertwining. As a series of chapters in a story, the album takes quite a meandering path.

‘Feels Like’ will undoubtedly become an anthemic favorite at festivals and gigs, especially for anyone who has experienced an embarrassing end to a relationship: “And it feels like / Everyone is laughing at me / And the torture / Need a little pain relief.” Overall, the songs will please existing fans and likely attract many new ones, even though the raw, home-grown directness of the 2007 hit ‘Same Jeans’ seems to have faded. Perhaps this is the exorcism that the band is referring to.

‘Footprints in the Sand’ is a poignant plea to address climate change, oddly simplified with seemingly forced lyrics: “As the waves crash in / Like a big brass band / And wash our footprints from the sand.” Climate change has been described using numerous metaphors, but perhaps never before as a big brass band.

‘Shovel in His Hands’ sounds the most 'authentic', with the Scottish folk/country influence reinforcing the political undertones: “The blood on those hands comes from faraway lands / And just around the corner where the old man stands / Shovel in his hands.”

‘Allergic to Mornings’ possesses a sense of the Electric Light Orchestra with a driving, jangling guitar line and a harmonious quality that elevates the song's mood. A similar theme returns in the final track, ‘Tangled’, which encapsulates the theme of the entire collection with lyrics tracing the course of a relationship lost to the naivety of youth: “I’m not saying everything’s over / I’m still looking over my shoulder / Catch up when you’re a bit older / I’d rethink my yesterday.”

Perhaps The View has been reevaluating their yesterdays in the production of this latest album and paving the way for some new tomorrows."

Peter Freeth

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Image: ‘Exorcism of Youth’ Official Album Cover


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