Despite the fact that it earned them a UK No. 3 hit with Same Jeans and a Mercury Prize nomination, The View's 2007 debut album "Hats Off To The Buskers" failed to expose them as anything more than another bunch of rowdy rockers, with little distinguishing them from a mountain of contemporaries other than a strong Dundonian accent. Thankfully, with Which Bitch? The View have introduced alternative styles and ambitious instrumentation to develop a sound with more than an ounce of individuality.
As well as single 5Rebeccas, there's plenty more rollicking pop rock for fans of their platinum selling debut, even if this means that the overly familiar sounds of Temptation Dice and Double Yellow Lines threaten to drag Which Bitch? back into mediocre territory. With the return of Oasis and The Verve producer Owen Morris comes the return of familiar Oasis-esque guitars, particularly on One Off Pretender, before its Malcolm Middleton speak-style vocals fall into an amateurish break. Though comparisons to The Libertines may be mostly garnered by The View's rock 'n' roll lifestyle and rambunctious lyrical content, they may even be deserved here in moments of lost control such as the vocal mayhem towards the end of single Shock Horror.
But, from the blues harmonica opening that advances into saloon style ditty Typical Time 2, it's clear that Which Bitch? has more to offer. Orchestral string arrangements have pride of place, from minor ballad Unexpected and the far reaching drama of pirate adventure Distant Doubloon to underhandedly sexist closing duet Gem of a Bird. An uncharacteristic appearance from Paolo Nutini on sweetly harmonised tragedy Covers, brings Nutini's own unmistakably Scottish accent out loud and proud in this company. Tribal vocals evolve into the fast-paced atmospheric rock of Glass Smash, while reggae rhythms are meshed with pop acoustic guitar and wooden flute on Realisation to create some of the album's highlights. Surprisingly and refreshingly interesting, for the most part.