Monday, 2 November 2009

The Palpitations - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

UK indie guitar rock is dead. The once great alternative to the mainstream has now become just another niche marketing term. In the same way that some prefer Starbucks to Costa, indie rock is just another brand to choose from the plethora of musical brands. Second division Britpop and the subsequent rise and fall of landfill indie have taken the genre to new levels of Topshop identikit blandness. The genre has become devoid of creativity and originality. Indie is no longer independent.

Or that is what one could believe. Taking a swoop back at this blog over the last year, with a few exceptions, very few of the bands that have been exciting us could be defined as indie guitar rock. So it comes as a huge relief to finally find a group soaked with dark guitar riffs, eerie melodies and not a keyboard in sight that show us that the limitations of the genre exist only in our minds. With just a little imagination it is still possible to produce something a little edgier, a little denser, and a little more uneasy without it becoming inaccessible and unlistenable. This is the kind of stimulating, kinetic indie that exists away from the fluff of The Kooks, The Pigeon Detectives and their peer group. May we introduce you to The Palpitations

The Palpitations produce a wall of sound that is evocative and powerful, music that snares and circles your brain like a wild animal hunting its prey. The sorrowful Tears in the Rain takes its starting point from the Shangri-La’s drum sound that Glasvegas have used to such effect - but with less bombast, before lead singer Danielle’s strident vocal soars over exploding chiming guitars. It’s direct, absorbing and irreducible. Then there’s Take Me for a Ride which has a hint of the breathy nature of The Joy Formidable, a subtly sensuous take on dream-indie. The Palpitations state that they bonded by the refusal to join the cul-de-sac sect their surroundings insisted on. On this basis, there is a strong argument for dumping every band in suburbia for a while, the rebellion reaction seems to produce good things. UK indie guitar rock is still alive - it just skipped a heartbeat for a while.

The bands debut 7" split EP, featuring Tears in the Rain and Cabin Fever, released in conjunction with the The Lovebirds is available now through Pushing Pussy Records. There is also a download format for the more disposable type.



I like your bold writing, as it encourages debate, even if we don't agree with it all. Never give up writing with a pair of balls.

There was a period of shite that gave us the forgetable Kooks, Pigeon Detectives and The Fratellis, but that's just what sold best. The real indie kids of that period were following Maccabees or LCD etc.

And yeah, since then there has been a pretty-girl-synth-pop domination (through 2009 and it looks set to continue with Marina and Ellie next year) but that's just where things have been focussed is all.

This year I adored We Were Promised Jetpacks, Joy Formidable, Kill It Kid and the emergence of Lyrebirds, Mirrors, O Children and Chapel Club brought a selection of doom to the indie rock proceedings too.

I guess it's a question of what is indie, but none of what I mention are second division Britpop. You will sound like some 18yr olds dad if you're not careful and I know you to be more progressive than that fella.

Anyway I hadn't heard The Palpitations, so thanks.

All the best

p.s. Let me know if you're going to either WWPJ or 2ManyDJs in Brighton over next couple of weeks?

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

"You will sound like some 18yr olds dad if you're not careful."

- Well as the father of a 10(almost 11) year old and an 8 year old, I'm not far off !

Whilst this year many of the things that have dominated our excitement have been colourful often synthy based pop and not particularly 'indie' you are right that there are bands out there who bring the darkness and are worth getting excited about. The Joy Formidable and Mirrors who you mention (who in the case of Mirrors are very synthy)we have saluted a number of times here and there are a number ands from America as well - particularly The Antlers who have delivered one of the years most depressing but equally inspiring LP's in Hospice (check out the review elsewhere on this blog)

As you say, what is indie these days ? The definition of 'indie' is now so obscure. This blog is old enough to remember a time when it was very clear what 'indie' was. These days the term seems almost obsolete, so difficult is it to define.

Thanks for the comment about the bold writing. We like debate - it helps broaden minds. We would never expect anyone to agree with everything we say - but we reserve the right to argue our case as strongly as possible ;) BMW blog has never set out to just follow the path of hipster blogosphere opinion, even if sometimes we do end up agreeing with it ! Our vision is singular and ours alone - that is one of the reasons why (although we have been asked several times) there are no guest writers on this blog. For us the beauty of a blog is that it is a single, unedited voice.

Anyway, this comment is digressing. Thanks as always for your comment.