There’s a story Kyle Falconer tells that is particularly illustrative of he and his band,The View. In relating it he goes back to a day last summer. He was entertaining his band mates performing handstands in the kitchen of his flat. He lost balance, he recalls with a cackle, toppled and crashed down into an open dishwasher, impaling his foot on a carving knife. Bassist Kieren Webster took a photo of the resulting injury. It is a close-up of Falconer’s left foot –the handle of the knife protruding from the ball, the blade buried three inches into it.
Here’s the deal. These days we bemoan the dearth of proper,death-or-glory,Devil-may-care rock’n’roll bands with tiresome regularity. Bands that exist for the thrill of living life to its fullest and that operate entirely on instinct.Well, The View is precisely that kind of band and they’ve been here all along.They don’t conform, don’t adhere to rules or make things easy on themselves.What they do is make music fired by passion and soul and joy.
The simple details of their story are these: school mates in Dundee,singer/guitarist Falconer, fellow songwriter Webster, guitarist Pete Reilly and drummer Steve Morrison formed the band in 2005. Discovered by former Rough Trade A&R man James Endeacott, the band signed to his label 1965 Records, part of Sony BMG group, and within two years they’d torn up stages supporting the likes of Primal Scream and The Babyshambles and released a hugely successful, Mercury-nominated,no 1 debut album, ‘Hats Off To The Buskers’ which spawned hits including ‘Same Jeans’, ‘Superstar Tradesman’, ‘The Don’, ‘Skag Trendy’,‘Face for The Radio’ and the NME Best Track of the Year, ‘Wasted Little DJs’.
That debut fitted the post-Libertines music landscape of the time. The easy thing to do next would have been to stick to the formula. The View instead made a more challenging and diverse second record called ‘Which Bitch?’,which ran a gamut from ramshackle folk-punk to sea shanties.
Released in February 2009, ‘Which Bitch?’ went Top 5 in the UK Charts and was seen as an ambitious record from The View, it was recorded at Monnow Valley Studios in Wales and produced by the acclaimed Owen Morris(Oasis/The Verve), who worked on their platinum selling debut album‘Hats Off To The Buskers’. Singles ‘Shock Horror’ and ‘5 Rebeccas’ soon became staple songs in their live sets when they completed a ‘Back To Basics’ 36 date tour of the UK.
After it, came the slick,sophisticated guitar pop of 2011’s ‘Bread And Circuses’. Overseen by producer Youth (The Verve’s ‘Urban Hymns’), this album saw The View decamp to London’s Britannia Studios for the first time with a whole batch of songs ready to go. “Youth had us recording strictly 11am-11pm,” says vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Kyle Falconer. ‘Sunday’ was released as a free download for fans before the first full single release of‘Grace’, one of The View’s finest moments – other highlights on the 13-track album were ‘Tragic Magic’ and ‘Underneath the Lights’ and ‘Life’, an epic, orchestral ballad with the string arrangement coming courtesy of the London Royal Philharmonic. A song dedicated to Kyle’s mum just before she passed away.
‘Which Bitch?’ and ‘Bread and Circuses’ – both great records - were slightly overlooked and soon after the band parted ways with their record company and saw them sign to a new label Cooking Vinyl. The band a year older,and maybe a little wiser, returned last year with their fourth studio album,Cheeky For A Reason – recorded in Liverpool with producer Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Foals) and arguably the best thing they’ve done.The Top 10 album received numerous glowing reviews (including 4* Q Review) – some of the best of the band’s career so far – and also saw them winning Best Album 2012 at the Sunday Mail’s Great Scotland Awards and Album of the Year 2012at The Scottish Music Awards. First single and opening track ‘How Long’, was accompanied by a video starring Red Road / A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints actor Martin Compston.
Following the success of‘Cheeky For A Reason’, it also saw them return to the US for the first time since 2007, when Kyle was busted for cocaine possession, they completed their first full North American coast-to-coast tour, which included a sold-out show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom, a date at famous Los Angeles venue The Troubadour and a set at SXSW.
Because Kyle Falconer is so much of what’s special about The View. Like the best pop stars he is a fascinating character – charming and complex and contrary. His eyes twinkle and yet still there seems something deep, dark and troubled just below his surface. One minute he will regale you with tales of miss adventures in strip clubs and police cells. The next he’ll talk with disarming frankness about losing both his parents by the time he was 22 and how he’s suffered anxiety attacks ever since. Of which he concludes, with a what-can-you-do shrug: “I’ve been told it’s because I’m not taking care of what’s going on in my head.”
All this – the peaks and troughs,the highs and lows – is integral to the make-up of their fifth album ‘Seven Year Setlist’ – a compilation of some of their finest moments to date, released on 17th June.
So what to do for a 5th album? A Greatest Hits? “Fuck off!” said Kyle.
Kyle, Kieren,Pete & Steve wanted to create a setlist album – all the tracks they enjoy playing live and a recap for the territories that they are now touring having missed out previously due to visa issues. The four new songs ‘Kill Kyle’, ‘Dirty Magazine’,‘Tight Hopes’ and ‘Standard’ reunited the boys with producer Owen Morris. Add these into an album that includes‘Wasted Little DJ’s’, ‘Same Jeans’, ‘Shock Horror’, ‘How Long’, ‘Superstar Tradesman’, ‘The Don’ and you’ve got a brilliant collection of music from one of Britain’s best indie/punk bands.
The band also support the legendary Stone Roses in front of 50,000 people on Glasgow Green on 15th June, as well as doing two intimate homecoming shows at Dundee’s 20 Rocks venue (May 9th and 10th), plus a host of live festival appearances including T In The Park..
"Over the years there's been four studio albums, thousands of gigs, way too much vodka but loads of memories on this crazy journey,” says vocalist / guitarist Kyle Falconer. “So we wanted to create an album that was kinda like stopping and looking back over the years plus we’ve written a few new tracks too. That’s the Seven Year Setlist."
‘Seven Year Setlist’ is out on Cooking Vinyl on 17th June 2013.