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Kyle Falconer - 'No Thank You' Album Review


1. Poor Me

2. Kelly

3. Avalanche

4. The Therapist

5. Japanese Girl

6. Confusion

7. Family Tree

8. Jekyll Down Your Hyde

9. Lily Anne

10. Madonna’s Makeup

11. Last Bus Home

As a founding member of The View, Kyle Falconer signed a record deal at 18, released 5 hit albums and had a Mercury Prize nomination. As Kyle Falconer he had some personal issues, went into rehab in Thailand in 2016 and, once clean, wrote and recorded this, his debut solo album. Called “No Thank You”, it was released on 27th July 2018.

So…I know what you’re thinking - we have another rehab album?

An album that’s nothing but a collection of excruciatingly pious songs with clumsy imagery of empty bottles and the staining found at the bottom of a glass.

An album you can’t be too critical of, because of “the journey”.

An album you will need suitably understanding phrases to use whilst discussing with your associates - “Searingly honest” and “Brutally self-aware” ought to do it.

Right then, we’re agreed – another rehab album, dreary and full of introspection and, since I’ve taken the listening bullet for you, one you can talk about but not have to listen to. You go make a cuppa, I’ll bung in some stuff about the studio it was recorded in and we’ll both meet at the bottom for the star rating – job’s a good ‘un.

Except…well, except that this album is really not what you’d expect from someone writing post rehab, and a million miles away from being a misery fest. From the first few bars of opening track “Poor Me” you get an album that’s upbeat, positive and full of optimism. Yes, there are references to the “dark times” throughout the album (the AA mantra based “Poor me, Poor me, Pour me another drink” chorus in lead single “Poor Me” for example) but they are there in such a way that you can either choose to pick up on them or let them wash over you whilst you enjoy what is a brilliant album. There is reflection but it’s coupled with optimism and wit and therefore remains a navel gazing free zone.

“No Thank You” is full of genuinely great Pop tunes with the stand outs being “Poor Me”, “Avalanche”, “The Therapist” (which has an opening two lines that just stay with you) and “Japanese Girl”. There are also some slight curve balls, such as closing track “Last Bus Home” having a wee country twang that belies an influence or two you wouldn’t have expected. Absolute pick of the bunch though is “Family Tree”, a song that captures the whole of his emergence from alcoholism through getting clean to life as a father. I’ve had to listen to this song at least a dozen times because there is no way that a song with that subject matter should have a chorus with that much cheery-sing-a-long-ness! But it does and it’s a thing of beauty.

I remember quickly scanning the PR blurb before listening and scoffing (sorry Katie!) at the words “…reimagined by a Scottish Kinks”. Having listened to the album though, I do totally get it. Kyle Falconer has that Ray Davies knack of looking at things with humour, great tunes and hidden depths.

I didn’t hold out much hope for this album to be honest…I thought it would be a 3 listens and trying to say nice things kind of thing. I was totally wrong…this is a joyfully brilliant album. Listening to it will make you smile…what other reason do you need to buy it?

Review - Chris Watson

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