Entertainment Weekly (10/27/95) - "...this set of rearranged hits and album tracks is a gentle stunner, not to mention the best Pretenders album since LEARNING TO CRAWL..." - Rating: A
Alternative Press (2/96, p.66) - "...pleasant, genuine, and occasionally moving. Hyde has mellowed....she has deepened....an album that won't force itself into your life, but may add a new appreciation of how subtlety and delicacy can be as powerful as the hottest power chords."
NME (Magazine) (11/4/95, p.46) - 8 (out of 10) - "...Not an MTV production...but up there with their best (Nirvana, Neil Young)....a loving, gentle punt along the leafy backwaters of the band's 16 years, and never has the delicacy and emotive force of Hynde's songs sounded better..."
The Pretenders: Adam Seymour (vocals, guitar, harmonium); Chrissie Hynde (vocals, guitar); Martin Chambers (vocals, drums); Andy Hobson (bass).
The Duke Quartet: Richard Koster, Louisa Fuller (violin); John Metcalfe (viola); Ivan McCready (cello).
Additional personnel: Damon Albarn (piano); Mark "Wiff" Smith (percussion).
Recorded live at Jacob Street Studios, London, England in May 1995.
Personnel: Adam Seymour (vocals, guitar, harmonium); Chrissie Hynde (vocals, guitar); Martin Chambers (vocals, drums); Louisa Fuller, Richard Koster (violin); John Metcalfe (viola); Ivan McCready (cello); Damon Albarn (piano); Andy Hobson (bass guitar); Mark Smith (percussion); Matt Smyth, Dave Reilly (tapes).
Recording information: Jacob Street Studios, London.
What could be a better vehicle for Chrissie Hynde's gorgeous vocals and impeccably arranged songs than the acoustically tinged live set captured on THE ISLE OF VIEW? Better than a greatest hits compilation, the album shows a sense of maturity for Ms. Hynde. Her songs come off wise and womanly, not as brash as the post-punk rantings of The Pretenders' first albums.
With the exquisite string arrangements behind Hynde classics like "Back On The Chain Gang" and "Kid," it is obvious that this is a new Pretenders, a more luxurious and elaborate affair. But when the punches behind "I Hurt You" or the sinister "Private Life" come in, it becomes apparent that Hynde and her Pretenders have only gotten stronger as their journey has progressed.
Chrissie Hynde has matured into one of the foremothers of contemporary pop. Her songwriting suaveness no longer comes from the "Brass In Pocket"-styled brashness of yesteryear, but from a more tenured and wizened stance. Hers is still one of the defining female voices in rock.