February 22, 2013

"The Clock," by The View

I relish in the ticking of the clock on my wall. I find it calming, almost meditative, listening to it tick and tock as the seconds pass. It helps me focus when I'm working and fall asleep when I'm resting (and reinforces my impeccable sense of rhythm).

For others, though, the ticking of a clock is torturous. It can be a constant reminder of one's own mortality. After all, life is fleeting. Our insignificant lives are but a blemish on the face of the universe waiting to be erased. As our cells battle to replicate at a rate faster than they die off, we inch closer and closer to the grave and the clock ticks on uncaring, as if it is waiting for us to perish. Though I relish in the clock, perhaps time itself is waiting for me to die, and when I do the grand cosmos will snicker at the insignificance of my life. It will keep spinning on as if I never was or will be again.

The View on tour in Japan, courtesy of their website.
Ahem. My apologies. That came from a dark place. But whether you feel life is fleeting or rich and full of purpose, we can agree that the best way to spend it is with great music, and this week's second track is just that!

The View is a Scottish indie band that has been around the block a few times since their conception as a cover band back in 2005. I imagine their thick Sco'ish accents made the cover band gig an impossibility, and they released their first original single, "Wasted Little DJ's," in 2006 and their first album followed a year later. Having listened to a smattering of their work from the past couple years, I can tell you that this group is very eclectic, embracing a lot of punk and pop influences infused with a folksy vibe. Their fourth album, Cheeky for a Reason, was released last year, but we're just now seeing it in North America, and along with it a track from that album, "The Clock," released for free download.

Boy, do I ever love this song. Listen to that electric guitar giving off such a smooth, classic rock feel. As I've noted, The View incorporates a lot of different styles into their work, but this track feels just like a rock song meant to be played in a smokey concert hall back in the 70s.

When I heard the voice of Kyle Falconer the first time listening to this track, I was so thrown by trying to place his accent that I didn't even listen to the lyrics. After listening to it a second fourth time, I realized that the first line of this song is one of my new favorite lyrics in my entire library:

"The fire exit door has never agreed with me. I'm never sure whether to push or pull."

We get a subtle build out of the verse from the acoustic and electric guitar before we get to hear Kyle wail on the chorus, belting out my second favorite lyric in this track:

"The clock, the clock has no sympathy. And oh, the clock, the clock has its way with me."

I love that throughout the track, the electric guitar and the lead vocalist share the spotlight equally, because both are integral to carrying, defining this song. Listening to the instrument and the voice trade off in the choruses makes me feel all warm inside, like I'm listening to a classic Eagles song.

I had better keep writing if I want to get through the whole song before I enter a state of fanboy rapture. That said, after the second chorus everything drops down to make way for the bridge. The bass and hi-hat enter, and the build begins:

"There's no fighting, and no hiding - my pain is gone."

The harmonies start to layer over this enigmatic lyric, and then, just before heading back for the last run of the chorus, this descant screech comes out of the mist and belts out one of the best runs I have ever heard. The last chorus layers the lyrics of the bridge in the background, and I can't help but just feel this music - all of it just makes me want to move. This is a dangerous thing, as I am white and terribly uncoordinated, but I'll be damned if I don't feel good when I'm grooving to great music.

Wrapping up the song, the group is kind enough to give a mellowed outro to ease me out of my rock-induced fervor, and leave me floatin' and happy.

Unlike this week's first track, "Symptoms," by Atlas Genius, I really feel like I understand this song. It plucks all the same heartstrings as my favorite classic rock tracks, but without the traditional storyteller's lyrics, instead replacing them with the artistic indie lyrics of our day and age. This song speaks to me about the passage of time and its effects on life, on being. With the experience of life's trials and tribulations under his belt, time passing all the while, the singer is a rock, immune to anymore of life's burns - "my pain is gone." At least that's how I read this song: slightly haunting, but triumphant having reached the "far shore," as it were. And I love it. Hats off to The View, and one of my new favorite songs, which I give...

4.5 out of 5.

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