Hats Off to the Buskers

by: The View

For all those who found the Arctic Monkeys too brash and bratty, or the Libertines too messy and dangerous, the View and their 2007 debut Hats Off to the Buskers should be welcome. Cheerful and cute where the Monkeys and Libertines were all coiled nervous tension, the View are polite, well-scrubbed and eager to please, offering up their tunes with vigor but no venom. Given that this is bright classicist Brit-pop -- all ringing guitars and la-la-la's, performed as if punk never happened -- it doesn't really hurt that the group lacks bark orbite, but it sure gives Hats Off to the Buskers a prefabricated feeling. It's a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, and since the raw elements of the original material -- Monkeys/Libertines via Blur/Oasis via the Jam/the Clash via the Kinks/the Who -- are still appealing, the View are hard to hate, but they're not energetic enough or craftsmanlike enough to be all that attractive on their own terms; after all, they're hardly playing on their own terms, they're using a rule book that's been passed on from generation to generation. And since they lack the audible passion of the Arctic Monkeys -- who, even as detractors of the over-hyped debut must admit, do have a kinetic kick to their records -- or the audacity of, say, Supergrass, they are perfectly easy to file and forget after their perfectly pleasant, utterly unmemorable debut is finished. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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