Album Review: Kyle Falconer – No Thank You

By Live4ever - Posted on 20 Jul 2018 at 8:23am

No Thank You

There is a review still online of The View’s 2007 gig at Dundee’s Caird Hall, one that vividly describes a band in their absolute prime and that paints a sweaty portrait of a group of rascals who, at the time, looked damn near unstoppable.

Ripping through the many highs of their number one debut album Hats Off To The Buskers, the quartet – fronted by baby faced mop-top singer Kyle Falconer – were never going to be anything other than ragtag anti-heroes, but after the show’s adrenaline rush came less natural highs: a rave that included, as the piece candidly admits, the biggest ecstasy tablet the writer had ever seen.

And so it was in the beginning for The View. And so it continued, with the group issuing a string of albums which declined in a creative sense gradually and a commercial one with greater speed. Ever defiant, Falconer himself remained an avatar, burning the candle at both ends and carrying on as if the noughties had never finished.

The problem with every Icarus though is that he seldom learns to stay far away from the sun, a fable the Scot appeared never to have read when he was found guilty of an air rage incident in 2016. What followed was a further spell in a Thai rehab centre (this time a definitive one) along with a period of sobriety and new fatherhood which has inspired many of the stories that No Thank You spins up.

Always a keen observer of people, Falconer has now turned the lens on himself, impishly throwing up reflexive song titles like Poor Me and Jekyll Down Your Hyde. Both are confrontations with addiction and its demons but, aside from the blinding lyrical honesty, each reveal an artist trying on new things, leaving the trademark amphetamine-skiffle of his old ways in the past – at least for now.

It’s hard, in fact, to decide whether No Thank You peels back the layers to Falconer’s writing or adds a dozen more; the lovely, melancholy reel of ballad Kelly finds him sat at the piano and surrounded by strings, while the Radio 2 friendly centre of Japanese Girl lies closer to the pop sheen of Coldplay or Snow Patrol, which is surely the point.

As well as showing this prowess at grafting an open melody to a proud confessional, there are episodes of tenderness which even the most trolling wronged hotel owner may warm to. The caner-turned-contactless-payment guru of Last Bus Home is a neat catharsis set to country and western cadences, on Family Tree Vimto replaces whisky and the little gifts of fatherhood are used as a springboard to a more satisfying peace.

If someone had bet you at the start of 2018 that Kyle Falconer would come up with one the boldest individual transformations of the year you’d have probably retorted with a quip about it being more likely that the Arctic Monkeys would go Andy Williams.

In an era with lots of angry records about anger at its most negative, the former hellraiser has written one about a person, people and the simple poetry of life itself, in the process creating a therapy we could all use a little of.

(Andy Peterson)

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