Album Review: The View - Bread and Circuses (1965)
The Scots caners’ third album pulls their career from the brink – but it’s more bread and butter than fine fare
After the poor sales of [b]‘Which Bitch?[/b]’, [a]The View[/a] had to think seriously what was more important to them: the drugs or the music? Producer Owen Morris was burdened with the blame for the drug-fuelled cock-up, and Youth was drafted in to make the “slightly more sober” [b]‘Bread And Circuses’[/b].
The title alone might make you think the band have matured slightly, delving into politicised Roman metaphors. It’s not a surprise, then, that the guitar-swirling [b]‘Grace’[/b] bursts out the traps with the focused mind of a prize-winning greyhound.
Like dog racing, though, the success is short, and [b]‘Underneath The Lights’[/b] comes on like a limping has-been with a shotgun to its head. [b]‘Tragic Magic’[/b] doesn’t fare much better and, on [b]‘Girl’[/b], Kyle Falconer sings, “the girl you’d like to ride”, with all the sexiness of an old man spunking into a betting slip.
There are a few moments dotted throughout that give glimpses of the chart-topping record they were aiming for. [b]‘Friend’[/b] is a glorious [a]Fleetwood Mac[/a]-aping track that shows that Kyle can write something believably emotive. And [b]‘Life’[/b], a song about Kyle’s late mum, is a stunning song that has the Royal Philharmonic weaving the heart-strings. But there’s too much on here like [b]‘The Best Lasts Forever’[/b] which, despite an intro from activist, poet and ex-MC5 manager John Sinclair, sees the band sound as edgy as – gulp – [a]McFly[/a].
[b]‘Bread And Circuses’[/b] isn’t bad enough to be [a]The View’[/a]s death knell, but neither is it good enough to be their commercial rebirth. Still, there’s always a career to be had playing the afternoon slot at Scottish festivals…