The Zodiac, Oxford
2nd July 2003
Things are finally looking very hopeful for Manchester-formed quartet Longview, long-signed but seemingly also long-groomed for somewhat inevitable Coldplay-like mainstream success. Recent tours in support of Easyworld, Goldrush, Athlete and Mull Historical Society have led to this headline tour to promote their debut album Mercury.
There’s something about Longview that’s impossible to dislike. They stay resolutely melodic while not letting their overall sound – that of quietly optimistic melancholy – turn to dirge. They have an impressive guitar arsenal – each guitarist, and even the bassist, swapping for most numbers – yet their sound is constant and full. Frontman Rob McVey’s strong voice is highly reverberated to sound winsome and mellifluous; the rest of the band all combine in impressive 3 and 4-part harmonies, and at times voices are by far their strongest instruments, especially on Still, Falling Without You and Can’t Explain.
Nowhere – a past single, but sure now to be re-released – is typical of their sound: not musically groundbreaking, but all parts make a very satisfying whole. Brooding rolling drums and bass coupled with higher guitar riffs characterise I Would, a slower number which Rob said “suited the atmosphere” of downstairs at the Zodiac very well (giving us the impression that it’s somewhat smaller than the most recent venues they’ve played, and proving their recent ascendency).
They closed the main set with Further, their Lord’s Prayer-plundering current single, which has reached the prestigious pinnacle of the Radio 1 playlist and an entry at number 27. Sara Cox recently said it wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Lost Boys soundtrack, and she’s right, in a way; it seems timeless.
Their catchy lyrics create a mood rather than tell a story; they are eloquent in emotion rather than intellectual pretention, which is good, because that wouldn’t suit their mellow indie style.
From Nightshift, August 2003