Long-View, Scala, London

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

In the US, they call it "dream pop". In the UK, we used to call it "shoegazing", but, what with Long-View holding their heads up high and positively embracing their dedicated fans while playing a blinder of a set, we're going to have to think of a new name for the blissed-out genre.

In the US, they call it "dream pop". In the UK, we used to call it "shoegazing", but, what with Long-View holding their heads up high and positively embracing their dedicated fans while playing a blinder of a set, we're going to have to think of a new name for the blissed-out genre.

Far from staring down, the Manchester-based four-piece look up and launch into "Still", sounding like Thunderclap Newman's psychedelic classic "Something in the Air' played by My Bloody Valentine. Heady reference points, but the band, formed in 2002, live up to the comparisons - I could throw in Wire and New Order for good measure - throughout a 75-minute performance that draws on their majestic debut album, Mercury, but also hints at the sonic experiments on Subversions, their forthcoming limited-edition release containing remixes by Ulrich Schnauss, Jack Knife Lee, Andy Votel, Mogwai and Elbow.

An ambitious group with an amazing grasp of dynamics, Long-View have made steady progress over the last three years, playing, and successfully adapting to, ever bigger venues.

Certainly, Matt Dabbs's kit sounds like John Bonham's, unless the multitasking drummer is also playing the xylophone or pads in the quieter moments, while the guitar chimes of Rob McVey and Doug Morch soar to the heavens.

"Cathedral of sound" is one of the worst clichés used by music journalists but, on their new song "Jealousy", Long-View actually bring that phrase to life, with a rising chord-sequence and a topsy-turvy melody worthy of the Cocteau Twins. The song towers at the centre of the gig but doesn't dwarf such crowd favourites as the lovelorn "Can't Explain" and autumnal "Further", during which fans sing along unprompted, to McVey's delight.

Tall and thin, with a passing resemblance to Evan Dando in his indie prime, McVey comes over all vulnerable in "I Would", but suddenly launches into a solo while clutching his guitar vertically. When he brings the sound down for one of those ambient moments when Long-View meet Pink Floyd, you could hear a pin drop.

But the group do much more than that. They have middle-eights and vocal harmonies that send shivers down the spine ("In a Dream") and big choruses that could fill a stadium ("Will You Wait Here"), while "When You Sleep" uses a blueprint worthy of The Ramones, and repeats the infuriatingly catchy lyric, "You don't know what you do to me", until you surrender to its simplicity.

That track was Long-View's second single in the UK, and has been remixed for the US, where the group recently signed to Columbia, and is currently No1 on alternative specialist radio there. Yet, despite ticking all the right new-British-music boxes, Long-View have enjoyed, at best, fair-weather support from Xfm and Radio 1 When they do a Franz Ferdinand or a Snow Patrol, the taste-makers will have egg on their faces.

Comments