The View's fifth full-length studio album, 2015's Ropewalk, features more of the Scottish outfit's exuberant and lyrical post-punk sound. Produced by the Strokes' guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr., Ropewalk also includes production from Swedish-born engineer Gus Oberg (the Strokes, Moby, the Postelles) and mixing from Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend, Ra Ra Riot, the Strokes). The album follows up the band's well-received 2012 effort, Cheeky for a Reason, which reached number one on the U.K. independent albums chart. As with that album, Ropewalk finds the View further maturing into a tight, sophisticated outfit, capable of balancing the punk energy of their early work with a more nuanced sense of song craftsmanship. Once again, lead singer/songwriter Kyle Falconer, with his cherubic Scottish brogue, remains the focal point. While he sounds as youthfully energetic as ever, at age 28, his lyrics reveal a growing self-awareness shaped by the concerns of adulthood from having kids, to getting married, to letting to go of certain recreational substances. On "Psychotic," he sings, "That stuff you call your savior is really killing you." And it's not just Falconer's lyrics that have deepened, his impassioned croon is well-served by the band's inclination toward driving, classicist pop/rock that's equal parts Fleetwood Mac and Arctic Monkeys. Perhaps not surprisingly, you can also hear a lot of the raw melodicism and frenetic creativity of producer Hammond's work with the Strokes here. While there are certainly some recognizable production choices to note -- dry percussion pushed up in the mix, just a hint of church-like reverb on the vocals -- to Hammond and Oberg's credit, they seem to have done little to mess with the straightforward nature of the View's sound. It's vintage-inspired but not retro, and works perfectly with group's '70s-style cuts like "Penny" and "Voodoo Doll," which bring to mind a mix of the Faces and ELO. Similarly, tracks like the moody "Under the Rug" and the swooningly infectious "Living" have a crisp, tactile quality that sticks with you.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar