WEEKLY UPDATES (with some special editions in between)



April 27, 2011

GHOSTS OF EDEN – THE KLUB 45 ROOM, NY – 22nd April 2011

This is probably one of the tougher gig reviews I have written for the simple reason that I am friends with lead singer and rhythm guitar player, Tom Pino. Having worked with him for a year or so at MTV and valuing him as one of the good guys, I have also developed an appreciation for his bands raw enthusiasm and music. Having recently reviewed a soul singer and now with ‘Ghosts of Eden’ who are a tad more rock than I would usually go for, I hope I am proving to be open to various different musical leanings.

I have seen ‘Ghosts of Eden’ many times before in landmark NY venues such as Arlene’s Grocery, Delancey, Gramercy Theatre, Irving Plaza, Crash Mansion and others. They have also played more intimate venues like, The Mercury Lounge and Highline Ballroom. Formed in 2008 and having being playing live in NY and surrounding states for only the past year or so, GOE have really kicked things up a gear or two. For me, they have improved markedly over the past few years…tighter than ever and Pino’s vocals have only gotten stronger and better.

Having released a four song EP early last year, the band are currently working tirelessly on cutting a new album which is slated for release in July of this year. The band clearly have songwriting capabilities with some fantastic rock songs in their arsenal including the likes of ‘Heartbreak Crutch’ and ‘Eliot Ness’ from debut EP, ‘Ignorance and Lies’.

This show was at a venue that I had never attended before, Klub 45 near Times Square. It was a fairly short set for GOE compared to other shows due to a few other acts playing the venue on the same night.

Starting out with ‘In Motion’ and seemingly having some troubles with the sound, those issues did not reverberate to the crowd. This was a pulsating track expertly delivered by the front man who really does have some stage presence. Some of my friends who were seeing the Ghosts for the first time were taken aback by the strength and harshness of his vocals. We are then introduced to a few tunes that will feature on the new album, the first offering in the shape of, ‘Sell My Skin’. This tune hosts the kind of clever, catchy guitar riffs that are somewhat synonymous with GOE. It’s easy to fathom that ‘Smashing Pumpkins’, ‘Foo Fighters’ and ‘Pearl Jam’ are among this self proclaimed, Velvet Grunge bands inspiration. Next up and one I thoroughly enjoyed the sound of was ‘Halo’…a little different from the Beyonce version and different in a good way. This is gentler and a little more balladry than some other GOE tunes, but probably more in line with my range of preference. 

‘Dear Mary’ begins with a really great riff by lead guitar, Rich, the baby face of the band who always looks cool calm and collected. The riff has me casting my mind back to Fleetwood Mac’s, ‘The Chain’ and Rolling Stones, ‘Gimme Shelter’. I mean, not quite up to those classics, but it does get me. I love the “tell me what to do, tell me what to say…” chorus with drummer Benny harmonizing wonderfully in the background. ‘Even Violence’ by title and by nature brings the Ghosts back to their heavy rock sound with Benny doing a fantastic job on the cans…he’s no slouch with those quick fire hands and really seems to enjoy what he’s doing. He was barely visible at the back of the stage in this arena, but his good work came across loud and clear.

Taking us home on their set was, ‘Unraveled’ also from the forthcoming release, has a wonderful chorus line culminating in “sink my teeth right in to you”. Bass player, Miles is more animated than ever on this track. Perhaps sometimes overcooking it with his body sways and facial expressions. That said, the boy can play bass and these visible emotions highlight that he is completely immersed in the music (and why not?). ‘Heartbreak Crutch’ has long been a mainstay in Ghosts’ sets of the past and it’s a solid one to end with. Brilliant lyrics and and an almost anthemic rock tune. The band often close with Mrs ScoAustin’s favourite, ‘Eliot Ness’, but were limited on time on this occasion, so I had to sing it to her in the cab on our way home (not sure I done it justice).

Despite it not generally being my genre of choice, these guys rock and rock hard. I am in on the Ghosts of Eden and recommend that you dedicate a little time to them too. Rating 7/10

Set List:
In Motion (new album)
Sell My Skin (new album)
Dear Mary (new album)
Halo (new album)
Even Violence (debut EP)
Unraveled (new album)
Heartbreak Crutch (debut EP)

* hear more on their website -

I was able to attain a few words from the band on their forthcoming album release:

We are back at Big Blue Meenie Studios (Rage Against the Machine, INXS, Helmet, Taking Back Sunday, Thursday, etc.) working on our follow up to 'Ignorance and Lies'. We are producing the record ourselves again but we are taking a little more time to make it sound bigger and better than the first record. Time and money are always a concern but we're aiming to get it out in time for a July Record Release party in NYC. Luckily, we are raising money to help fund the production and manufacturing of the new record - I think the big difference between this new record and the last is its focus. There is definitely a theme of some sort and we feel the songwriting and messages these songs convey will generate a bigger response because there is more substance to relate to.

April 26, 2011

Ocean Colour Scene (OCS) - GET BLOWN AWAY

Been reminiscing a little lately with some auld favourites, and this one in particular resonates with me. Many reading this will probably say "ahhhhhh, Ocean Colour Scene" while others will have never heard of them. Either way, enjoy the video below (3rd album, 'Marchin' Already') and if you like it, give the links at the end a whirl (all from 2nd album, Moseley Shoals).

OCS were a favourite band of mine (along with Oasis) following the release of their hit album, Moseley Shoals. Although they didn't quite reach the massive scale or heights of Oasis, they were hugely popular in the BritPop scene of the mid 90's. My first real introduction to OCS was through the theme tune, 'Riverboat Song' on TFI Friday which was the TV show of the time in the UK which provided the best median to keep up with new music, movies, celebs and basically try and stay cool. Having seen them live at various venues across the country at that time (Glasgow Barrowlands, Glasgow SECC, Liverpool Royal Court, Stirling Castle etc.), I can attest that their live performances are incredible. With Oscar on drums and Craddock on lead guitar and Damien strumming bass, the sound is fantastic. Add to that the serene strength of Simon Fowler's vocals, and you have some great tunes and melodies, be it in an acoustic setting or as a live performance.
You've Got It Bad

April 24, 2011


I had never heard of this, ‘Charles Bradley’ character until SXSW last month when he followed ‘The Dodos’ in supporting ‘The Black Angels’ at Cedar St Courtyard. It had been had a long, hot day trailing around the city to see a number of bands at various venues…the missus was toiling somewhat. Having just watched and enjoyed the lively ‘Dodos’ and in eager anticipation of the headliners, we took a step inside toward the bar and found a great spot on a nice leather sofa to relax and listen to the next act, ‘Charles Bradley’. The Glenlivet on ice was going down a dream, but I was largely unprepared for the music that was to follow…a slight diversion from the genre of the other acts on show. It felt like James Brown, Otis Redding and Al Green were back in the house. ‘Charles Bradley’ turned out to be quite the modern day a soul brother with his funky R&B and soulful sound filling the air of Austin. His performance that evening emanated unrefined energy, yet poignant tenderness.

I don’t want to write Charles Bradley’s biography, but given his tumultuous background and its impact on this particular album, I feel it’s appropriate to cast some light on his sad, but inspirational story.

Born in Florida in the late 40’s and later raised in Brooklyn, Bradley spent a large part of his childhood on the streets. In 1962, his sister took him to see ‘James Brown’ at The Apollo…this event had a lasting impression on a young, Bradley. An inspiration in the true sense with Bradley rushing home that evening to mimic his new idols moves with a broom. He had a purpose and a goal that drove him to get off the streets…this lit the touch paper on his music career.

Bradley later found his audience in the clubs of Brooklyn where he performed James Brown routines under the guise of ‘Black Velvet’. With things starting to look up, Bradley experienced personal trauma once more when his brother was shot and killed by his nephew. He was at an all time low when Daptone Records lead, Gabriel Roth took notice of his talents. One thing led to another and Bradley was introduced to, Thomas Brenneck of ‘Dirt Rifle and the Bullets’. The pair were like minded in their musical influences and became very close friends. When Bradley confided in Brenneck and told of his life’s traverses and tragedies, Brenneck was adamant that they work together and try to put his story to music. Producer, Brenneck released Bradley’s first two singles, ‘The World (Is Going Up In Flames)’ and ‘Heartaches and Pain’ prior to launching this album, ‘No Time For Dreaming’.

Kicking off with debut single, ‘The World (Is Going Up In Flames)’, Bradley really sets the scene with his gritty sound and emotional lyrics, pleading “don’t tell me how to live my life, when you never felt the pain”. Keys and horns collaborate well in this, one of the albums strongest tracks. ‘The Telephone Song’ then unearths the tender side of Bradley in this sultry, soulful love song which shares the smoothness of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’. A funky little song with horns again prevalent follows in ‘Golden Rule’ and Bradley basically conveying the importance of love and soul, inferring, “now you feel my heart and know I’m for real”.

Track four, ‘I Believe in Your Love’ emphasises the sheer quality of this man’s voice. Pure soul that harks back to the James Brown school of soul…so simple, but so bloody good. Nearing the midway point we are offered an instrumental in ‘Trouble In the Land’ which is short, but sweet (I guess). ‘Lovin’ You Baby’ is another example of Bradley’s immense vocals. Perhaps deeper and almost more gospel than other tracks, this is more in the vibe of Ben. E. Kings, ‘Stand By Me’ or, the Percy Sledge classic, ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’. It really could be James Brown singing this next couple of tracks, ‘No Time for Dreamin’’ with shrills of “gotta get on up” and ‘How Long’ which has a bluesy kind of vibe.

The album concludes with three soulful love songs and one kind of auto biographical tale ‘In You (I Found Love)’ where Bradley plays homage to NY and how grateful he is to the people who got his life back on track. ‘Since Our Last Goodbye’ is something of a diversion from the rest of the album. Not only is it another instrumental, but the beat and rhythm is very similar to bossa nova classic, ‘The Girl from Ipanema’. In the closer, Bradley sings about the tragic death of his brother in ‘Heartaches and Pain’. It ends the album as it started in which his sadness and trauma is felt through his quite simply, astounding vocals.

It was never really in any doubt that Bradley was born to entertain, but in the release of this album at the tender age of 62, he exudes an appetite and skill in songwriting as well. Charles Bradley has spent the majority of his time dreaming of a better life…I think he has arrived with the release of a captivating, raw and candid soul record. There’s really not a weak track on it. Rating 7.5/10

April 14, 2011


‘TV on the Radio’ returned to live action a month ago at SXSW and I was delighted to be there to see the previewing of new album 'Nine Types of Light'. Despite bassist, Gerard Smith being absent having recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, guitarist/vocalist, Kyp Malone said that it felt great to be playing together again following over three years away. TVOTR return revitalised and reengaged from their various separate musical ventures in addition to Sitek’s new recording techniques. While lead singer, Tunde Adebimpe and bassist, Gerard Smith teamed up for ‘Fake Male Voice’, singer/guitarist, Kyp Malone cut a raw garage record under the guise of ‘Rain Machine’ and producer supreme, Dave Sitek moved to  LA  and collaborated with a host of up and coming and established artists with dance/pop project ‘Maximum Balloon’.

From TVOTRs debut album, ‘Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes’ to follow up, ‘Return to Cookie Mountain’ and the outstanding success of ‘Dear Science’ (which was heralded as 2008’s best album by ‘Rolling Stone’), many have eulogised over TVOTR’s sophisticated musical talents, but many fail to laud their diverse gamut of styles from jazz and a cappella music to psychedelia, modern soul and classic rock. Regardless of which of these their music follows, lead singer Tunde Adebimpe's talents are apparent with his oftentimes aggressive, but oh so delicate delivery.

The introductory ‘Second Song’ is a blissful little song with Adebimpe murmuring his deep lyrics prior to heavier beats and bass kicking in and a catchy little high pitched chorus that the lead carries off beautifully. Keep Your Heart’ becomes something of a cosmic groove. It’s a pleasant, if a little quirky tune that leaves me feeling unsure. ‘You’ fails to win me back…I mean it’s a decent melody with a good heavy bass accompanying, but a tad empty and unimaginative.No Future Shock’ takes us back to the more political themes that were a theme in ‘Dear Science’ with what is effectively a story of disillusionment with the world’s corporate powerhouses to which we can all relate. Killer Crane’ is a song that tenderly ebbs and flows with flourishes of strings, piano and banjo in this melodic number, while ‘Will Do’ follows this in a beautiful ballad that positively shimmers. I can visualise, Adebimpe posturing and nurturing this one on stage. ‘New Cannonball Blues’ is probably the most obvious of the ‘Maximum Balloon’ influence with dance undertones, before ‘Repetition’ follows with a zest and rocking beat that is welcome at this juncture…much more in line with the ‘Wolf Like Me’ and ‘Halfway Home’ sounds if perhaps a little more simplistic. Strings, horns and house type beats again play their part in the next whimsical track…‘Forgotten’ searches deep into the mystery of Beverly Hills culture. The curtain comes down with ‘Caffeinated Consciousness’ kicks in with chords something similar to INXS song, ‘Guns in the Sky’ before delving in to a bluesy rock vibe.

The second half of the album is the better half for me with more energy and creativity than the first. The TVOTR sound that I prefer is apparent on songs like ‘Wolf Like Me’ from ‘Return to Cookie Mountain’ and ‘Halfway Home’, ‘Dancing Choose’, ‘DLZ’ and ‘Love Dog’ from the brilliant ‘Dear Science’. Despite fairly high praise in the music world, this one just doesn’t stack up to the previous couple of releases. Rating 6.5/10.

April 13, 2011

Oasis - Masterplan (Maine Road Manchester 1996)

No particular reason, it's just an amazing song that sprung to the front of my music mind today.

April 12, 2011


I won't proclaim to be the most fervent ‘Foo Fighters’ fan and in truth, they are probably at the 'heavier' end of my music listening spectrum (along with ‘Sex Pistols’, ‘Queen of The Stone Age’, ‘ Them Crooked Vultures’ and ‘The Clash’). That said they are a frequent listen on my play list and one I hope to catch live at some point this year. There is no denying that, Dave Grohl is a rock messiah. He is one of the best in the business…the consummate rock band front man. The ‘Foos’ seemingly reached the peak of their powers with 2007 release, ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace’. An album idolised by those who listened and further embraced by some fairly important engineers in the art of rock - Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones (who took the stage with the ‘Foos’ at sold out Wembley Stadium shows). That made it official; ‘Foo Fighters’ became one of the biggest bands in the world.

A couple of years on various other projects and the ‘Foos’ were ready to go back to their roots with their seventh album. With Butch Vig producing (first time that Grohl and he have worked together since ‘Nevermind’ in 1991) and exclusively using analog
equipment in Grohl’s garage in Virginia, points to a more laid back ambiance. Not to mention that this is a band with nothing really left to prove or fulfill other than their own principles and love of the game that they are in. They have released as many or more records than the likes of ‘Nirvana’, ‘Black Flag’, ‘The Clash’ and ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ (to name but a few).

‘Wasting Light’ is a cracking record and already being regarded by many as their best yet (I’m still undecided on that, but find it hard to argue against it at this point). This offering is the direct result of masters of their craft combining to deliver a rock album of which the music masses will, I am sure, bawl their approval. Produced by Butch Vig, with significant cameos from Krist Novoselic and Bob Mould, and the return of Pat Smear, it’s kind of hard for this one not to grab the attention.

The opener, ‘Bridge Burning’ is a fantastic start to the new album. It’s energetic with mind blowing guitar (a consistent theme throughout the album) and a shrilling, Dave Grohl. It sends out a message to the listener, a message that, “I need to listen this album in its entirety”. This is followed by a ‘Rope’ with chilling guitar riffs and death defying drum beats. ‘Dear Rosemary’ which follows is probably my favourite track on the album (following four listens to the release).  It’s very melodic, has a great beat and vibe and backing vocals from Bob Mould (best known for his work as guitarist, vocalist and songwriter with Husker Du and Sugar) supplement the song impeccably. ‘White Limo’ is a thrilling QOTSA meets Faith No More kind of roller coaster ride. This has Pat Smear’s signature all over it.

The fifth track ‘Arlandria’ harks back to ‘Nirvana’ sounds with Grohl beautifully exuding his lyrics “you are not me, Arlandria, Arlandria, you and what army? Alandria”. The slower burning, These Days’ is a tad more melodic but no less vitalising as it ascends in to a rocking little tune. ‘Back and Forth’ is perhaps the weakest song on the album…a bit poppy for the ‘Foos’ in my humble opinion. Not bad, just not great. We get back to the outstanding guitar and cracking little melodies with ‘A Matter Of Time’. It’s the kind of ‘drive faster’ tune that I love. ‘Miss The Misery’ is quite simply the type of ‘Foo Fighters’ sound that we have readily come to expect and that’s just fine with me. ‘I Should Have Known’ would have been a great closer if they didn’t have an even better one up their sleeve. A balladry intro with the accompaniment of strings has me thinking ‘The Beatles’, ‘Skin and Bones’ and ‘Everlong’ at the same time. I can almost picture Grohl banging this one out in the Garage in which the album was recorded…it sounds raw and real. To be deemed a better closer than the previous track is a tribute in itself. ‘Walk’ is a blissful sounding track and probably encapsulated the 2011 ‘Foos’. “I never wanna die! I never wanna die!” Grohl howls. I believe him and who wouldn’t in this vein of form.  As I said in my intro, he’s one of the best in the game and long may he continue making this high standard of music. Wasting Light is a must own. Rating 8.5/10.

April 10, 2011


A quick note on support act, from Montreal, Canada, ‘Suuns’. I was intrigued to see what this lot was all about having read some heady appraisal…particularly surrounding their live performances. Their sound is certainly something different, binding electronic dissension and rock hedonism into something a little unconventional. Having recently toured with ‘Crystal Castles’ and this time around with, ‘The Black Angels’, they are clearly open to tackling all of the sounds that they can muster. Therein lays the problem for me. Their house/dance beats and sounds are much more suited to their strengths than the pop-arty, Sonic Youth type efforts. Certainly one I plan to listen to a little more, but they didn’t blow me away in the manner in which I had read that I would be.

Where ‘Suuns’ failed to deliver the knockout blow that I anticipated, ‘The Black Angels’ certainly did not. This psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas, has had a hold on me for a good few months now since first hearing their material. This relationship blossomed to almost love affair status having seen them twice in their hometown a month or so ago at SXSW. Their name apparently derives from the ‘The Velvet Underground’ song ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’ and it’s very easy to make comparisons to bands like ‘Black Mountain’, ‘The Velvet Underground’ and most of all, in my opinion, ‘The Doors’. Formed several years ago and with tree albums to date behind them in, ‘Passover’, ‘Directions to See a Ghost’, and recent effort ‘Phosphene Dream’ released late last year, the band are starting to receive the acclaim that they deserve.

They swaggered on to the stage at Music Hall of Williamsburg with the talented Alex Maas taking front and centre and lit the place up with ‘Bloodhounds on My Trail’. Now I don’t profess to be a fan of country music (indeed it’s quite the opposite), but his one has some country undertones with a bluesy sound that harks back to Johnny Lee Hooker, B.B. King and Muddy Waters. Following this lively start, Maas delivered the haunting sounds that only he can in ‘The Sniper At the Gates of Heaven’ and one of my favourites, ‘The Sniper’ in which the opening riffs belong somewhere on the Pulp Fiction sound track. This vibe continued in ‘Haunting at 1300 McKinley’ before getting extremely psychedelic with the base heavy ‘Yellow Elevator #2’. 

Maas continued his amazing delivery in his cool and collected manner with ‘Black Grease’. He almost caresses the mic stand and delivers his lyrics in a moving way that underlines his passion for the music and sounds that he conveys.  The lead man was never far away from keyboard, synthesizer, maracas, tambourine or base guitar and continued to underline his talents in all areas. Accompanied on vocals by Christian Bland on this trippy little tune, ‘Manipulation’ was brilliantly executed. Maas’s style in this one somewhat similar to that of ‘Tim Booth’ from Manchester 80’s band, ‘James’.  Maas was back to his Jim Morrison, ‘Doors’ vibe, maracas again in hand with, ‘River of Blood’ before the darker, ‘Entrance song’. We then flipped back to the 60’s in the funky little song, ‘Telephone’ which resembles some of ‘The Beach Boys’ tones and heavy use of the electric organ. Strangely enough, the track finished off with a base sound that had me thinking of ‘The Beatles’, ‘Come Together’…this a deliberate ploy to merge nicely in to ‘Young Men Dead’ which is murky and aggressive with Maas at his very best blaring, “Run for the hills, pick up your feet and let's go” in the chorus. Somewhat calming the baying crowd down with the current albums first track, ‘Bad Vibrations’ the band went for a short pause which the ecstatic audience probably required more than the band themselves (particularly drummer, Stephanie Bailey who had been banging those skins hard all night long).

Mass took to the stage on his own, base guitar in hand for the first assault on the Encore with a poignant track. I confess to having no clue as to what this song on or where it resides in ‘The Black Angels’ discography, but keen to learn if anyone knows. The video (above) is similar in both setting and delivery to that witnessed and enjoyed last night.  The band ended a fantastic set strongly with ‘You On The Run’, the catchy, ‘The Prodigal Sun’, and energetic ‘You In Color’.

On a personal note, this show set a solid marker for 2011 gigs…the competitors have a fair distance to go to beat it as far as I’m concerned. I will say that this may be largely in part to this kind of bluesy, psychedelic rock being right down my street. It may not be music the masses will listen to day in day out, but it’s certainly a band to have on your playlist. In terms of seeing them live…it’s really quite simple. If they’re playing anywhere near you, go and see ‘The Black Angels’…they will not disappoint and may possibly be a God send. Rating 9/10


- Bloodhounds On My Trail
- The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven
- The Sniper
- Haunting At 1300 McKinley
- Yellow Elevator
- Black Grease
- Manipulation 
- Science Killer
- Entrance Song
- Telephone 
- Phosphene Dream
- Young Men Dead
- Bad Vibrations

- Alex Mass (Solo effort)
- You On The Run
- The Prodigal Sun
- You In Color

April 8, 2011


For those not already familiar with this band, I should probably introduce 'The View' prior to reviewing their most recent and third album, 'Bread and Circuses'. 'The View' are a Scottish band from Scotland's 'City of Discovery', Dundee. Bursting on to the scene in 2006 with their single 'Wasted Little DJs' from debut album, 'Hats Off to the Buskers' (2007) they grabbed the attention of the music press as Scotland's version of the Libertines or more so Arctic Monkeys (who at that time were riding the crest of a wave). They certainly share the same rapid guitar rhythms, quickfire lyrical delivery and maintain their strong colloquial accents in Monkeys fashion. 

I won't pretend to be able to understand or deliver all of the words when singing in to my hair brush, but those I do get are cleverly composed and thoroughly enjoyable. This is highlighted in the aforementioned debut single, 'Wasted Little DJs' where the chorus is "Astedwae ittlae ejaysdae"...perhaps 'The View's' version of Clockwork Orange's language, 'Nadsat'. The 14 track debut is probably their best. 'Coming Down' kicks the album off as it is set to continue and provides a solid intro to what these lot are all about...raw, grungy, indie sound with husky vocals from singer, Kyle Falconer. 'Superstar Tradesman' and 'Same Jeans' are equally plausible tunes. Some more chilled out ballads like 'Face for the Radio', 'Grans for Tea' and 'Claudia' are nice wee diversions before reverting back to the rockin' sounds of 'Street Lights' and 'Wasteland'. The debut album hit top spot on the UK album chart on release and was also nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2007.

The follow up to 'Hats Off to the Buskers' came in the form of 'Which Bitch?' in February 2009. This was a release that completely passed me by...I only heard about it and picked it up in early 2010. This perhaps underlines the lack of fervour surrounding the album, which itself and the three singles that were released from it, performed poorly in the UK chart. That said, it was up there near the top of my play list in 2010...I like it a lot. There's no significant change from the debut...maybe a little more produced and less raw, but the formation of gentler ballads accompanied by crude, poppy-rock tunes still work for me. '5 Rebecca's' follows the autobiographical themes and poetic delivery of many of the 'Hats Off to the Buskers' songs. 'Unexpected' is just that...almost classical and operatic with a tender and more gentle 'The View' relying heavily on strings for this track. 'Glass Smash' is one of the best songs in their repertoire as far as I'm concerned. Fast, furious, rocking and getting the very best out of Kyle's harsh voice and poetic delivery. From the rough and tumble of 'Glass Smash' we fall in to something of a dreamworld with 'Distant Dubloon'. It's like something that should feature in a 'Tim Burton' movie. 'Covers' is another dreamy little song featuring fellow Scottish pop singer, 'Paolo Nutini' before 'Double Yellow Lines' and 'Shock Horror' again blows that tone to smithereens. The latter has a fantastic, rambunctious sound to it. 'Give Back the Sun' and 'Gem of a Bird' are clever sultry little songs with a happy go lucky feel...maybe even tracks for the summer.

It seems that I may have gotten a little carried away in my introduction of the band, but hope it set the scene for the main event, the review of 'The View's' latest and third album, 'Bread and Circuses'.

There is certainly a slight wave of maturity in this album, but I am still undecided as to whether this is a good thing or not for 'The View's' music. With many tales of drink and drug fueled parties among other misdemeanours over the years, this may have been a conscious decision by the band and their management team. For me, the beauty of their music is that raw, rough and ready Libertinesque/Undertones sound. This album has a lot softer approach more synonymous with a Fleetwood Mac.

The album begins with first single release, 'Grace' which is decent. This is more Libertines/Babyshambles in sound with a pretty cool little guitar riff throughout and smooth, but tight lyrics by Kyle. The next few songs follow this melodious path, culminating in, 'Life' which is a tribute to Kyle's late mother. Nice and pleasurable songs to listen to, but nothing much more than that. 'Friend' is a fantastic and emotional effort that highlight Kyle's ability to pen some fairly strong lyrics with "bye bye bye bye Bible, bye bye bye bye Faith...the girl that I'd be speaking to all night, has left me for my friend." Simple, but very effective in this jazzy, soulful little number. 'Blondie' is another song fairly basic in composition and lyrically, but it's a toe tapping song that you unwillingly find yourself humming along to. 'Walls' gets back to the bluesy, filthy sounds that I prefer with Kyle utilising the full range of his vocal range in this one.

'Happy' and 'Best Lasts Forever' are again very melodic and emotional tunes that I didn't associate with 'The View' of yesteryear. I mean they are decent and I enjoy having this album on during a quiet night in, but it lacks the get up and go sounds of prior releases. These types of ballads are probably more expected from Coldplay or the likes. The album ends perhaps comically with a circus like (to match the albums title) tune called, 'Witches'. Quirky and similar beat to 'Distant Dubloon' on the previous album.

It's not a bad third album, but the truth be told, probably the weakest of the three they have released. Despite liking some of the softer stuff, it's a plea to get back to the razor sharp edginess and roughness that I loved in 'Hats Off...' and 'Which Bitch?' (both of which I would rate in the 8/10 range). Rating 6.5/10 

Perhaps 'The View' need to get out on the road more seriously in order to promote their music better. They have good sounds and a talented lead singer in terms of both songwriting and delivery of songs. Sure they pitch up at many of the UK festivals, but generally play to smaller venues in the UK during the remainder of the year and don't appear to do any significant touring outside of that. Perhaps they aren't as good as I think and I'm just being overly patriotic.

Wasted Little DJs - from 'Hats Off to the Buskers'
Glass Smash - from 'Which Bitch?'
Blondie - from 'Bread and Circuses'