Longview / Barfly - Manchester Night & Day - 29.5.03

Here I was waiting for those New York eighties obsessive's who happen to be friends of the Strokes when it dawns on me that i'd got the wrong band completely. It wasn't Longwave that were playing. It was Longview. Confusing really when they're signed to the same multinational conglomerate and happen to be playing much of the same venues. Still these things are sent to try us and the various sound bites I'd heard about Manchester's very own Longview suggested they were either going to be the next Oasis or on the opposite scale a poor mans Haven.

The fact I'm a Haven fan seems to suggest that I'm up for a great night regardless and if it wasn't for the lack of air conditioning in the Night & Day it might have been. Were talking the sort of sweltering heat which makes the slightest slip of a person sweat like Lisa Riley after a workout. It's supposed to be rainy dismal Manchester and instead the Northern Quarter is in the middle of a heat wave and the only music we have for the soundtracks is Barfly and Longview. The former seem to be the support band of choice over the past few months and it's easy to see why - it's indie by numbers as previously displayed by the Bluetones or Shed 7 - nothing new and nothing offensive and with a hundred unsigned bands doing the same it would be hard to imagine they'll ever take the world by storm.

Longview are who we have mistakenly come to see and even though I recognize their faces from round town it's hard to bring to mind one of the bands tunes. Once in a while something just niggles away at you and try as you might the thought won't shake from your head. What's currently running my head about Longview is why does such a potential star such as Rob McVey ruin it all by sounding like a poor mans Jimi Goodwin. The low strung out almost lethargic vocals just don't seem right when placed on music which genuine shines and shimmers whether it's a lightly picked descending riff or a full on aural assault. Instrumentally on "Nowhere" and "45" the band have songs which demand an gut reaction, but have a depth to them beg for the repeat and where the vocals should soar they just fall flat every time. I could say something trite like it's nothing personal, but it is totally personal - the only way Longview are going to make it is if Rob McVey bleeds his heart out or the band trade him in for a singer who can match the vocal talent of the bands they're constantly compared to.

Alex McCann

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