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Long-View - Mercury Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 March 2005

format: 16-bit stereo CD
label: Columbia Records
release year: 2005
performance: 6
sound 7
reviewed by: Paul Lingas

Image Recorded in Seattle with Pearl Jam producer Rick Parashar, this Manchester-based collection of four blokes from around England has done well with their collection of singles released first in the U.K. and then in the States, which marks Long-View’s first full-length album. While there are only four members of the band, the arrangements have a very full quality to them, something that can perhaps be attributed in part to the producing capabilities of Parashar. While Long-View have somewhat their own style, obvious connections can be made to other bands and there is little that stands out so much that makes this a band required listening.

If there is one thing that stands out here, it is the lead vocal work of Rob McVey, whose voice seems to have an innate ability to exude emotion without making it sound sappy or like someone is being strangled with a pair of fishnet tights. Guitarist Doug Morch, bassist Aidan Banks and drummer Matt Dabbs round out the foursome with obvious ability to play their respective roles and various instruments.

The first track, “Further,” is the best offering, because while it pushes at you with the proverbial wall of sound at certain moments, it also backs off now and then to allow the haunting nature of the lyrics to work at you. Then everything surges before being replaced yet again by a quiet interlude. The song really uses its peaks and valleys to maximum effect and by doing so it reveals the ability of Long-View to rock and reflect. “One More Try” is an upbeat track with the lyrics of a ballad but the tempo and sensibilities of a smooth rock song. It has definitively cool hooks.

“Falling For You” again capitalizes on McVey’s forceful, almost breathy vocals. “If You Asked” and “Will You Wait Here” finish out the album on much the same note, as can be divined from the track titles. I understand the proclivity to winding an album down, but having too many slow ballads will cause the listener to fall asleep before the album is complete. “Will You Wait Here” is a bit more upbeat, but it feels a little too late to try to amp things up at this point. It’s too bad, because this is one of the better offerings, with a plinking guitar and a snare drum that contains faint echoes of “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”

While there is nothing particularly egregious about these guys, there is nothing particularly remarkable, either. They seem capable and have a greater ability to create a deeper though less interesting sound than, say, Coldplay, a band Long-View is compared to often. However, I don’t really see the comparison. While Chris Martin has a plaintive stridency to his voice, McVey never seems to be reaching for anything and the music is much more related to rock than Coldplay. There have been other comparisons in the U.K. press to U2 and Verve, and while elements of both can be heard, Long-View seem to be pretty much sticking to their own deeply melodic, pulsing rhythms. McVey labels The Smiths as a lyrical inspiration, as they are trying not to write about things they don’t know, whether it be fashion, love or politics, but rather to create music and lyrics that convey the realities of living in the U.K. In fact, both in this way and musically, they draw more comparison to early Travis and Embrace; Long-View has even performed with the latter.

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