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.