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The Beautiful View

Life Is Beautiful

(Requiemme; US: 10 Jan 2012; UK: 10 Jan 2012)

Aiming high and occasionally getting there

The Beautiful View, hailing from Chula Vista, CA, offer up a radio-friendly, wanna-be-epic brand of arena rock (does anyone play arena rock anymore?) reminiscent of early U2 in its desire to elevate music into some kind of transcendent experience. Alas, they don’t always succeed. They do manage to play some decent songs, just not thed kind of barn-burners they aim for. Standout cuts here include “The Spaniard” and “Mercy Is a Cold Shower”, both of which manage to rock convincingly, while “Bells” is notable for its straightforward energy. After that, it’s a case of diminishing returns, as the back half of the album settles into a kind of competent midtempo sameness. There’s nothing wrong with “Ides of March”, “Always Only Me” or “Here She Comes” other than the fact that they all sound fairly similar and you forget them moments after they finish playing. As a whole, the record is fine, as my mother would say, meaning there’s nothing particularly abrasive or unpleasant about any of it. It’s fine.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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