Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Indieworld savours stalwart’s return

The wait is almost over – after weeks of brouhaha about the about-turns in the studio, hype about the seminal influences informing their latest opus and hints of its greatness, Coldplay’s third album is nearly with us. And if the single Speed of Sound is any indicator then their “bedwetting” constituency of fans can look forward to sixty minutes of insipid vacuity from Twisted Logic (a dreadful term). Never a fan but almost able to appreciate the melodies of some of their older tunes, I simply do not accept that anything about this single is any good. The kings of stadium indie merely highlight their moribund genre, on its knees creatively and commercially (genuflecting to the man).

Though they can ‘reclaim’ the ‘crown’ usurped by the other indie wets – Keane, Snow Patrol (the least ambitious band in history?), two more salient points raise themselves. In less commercially minded areas it wasn’t always the case that the NME – which has an effective monopoly of weekly music print media – would praise any act willy-nilly. News of an album’s progress would be charted without sensationalism and then an experienced hack would deliver the verdict. Nothing was precious/sacred.

But with the hegemony of the ‘neemy’ (my clued-down mum pronounced it that way) has been a narrowing of its sights along with its audience/market so it is now almost solely serving the indie student stereotype. It wasn’t always thus – take a look at any 80s cover and you’ll see how broader its palate was, while it recently ran a 1994 ‘classic’ cover that showed that nearly all the acts were of a post-rave/ambient techno nature. Any IPC media whore worth his refined bath salts will see the logic in bigging up the ‘indie’ scene, its main bands, its leading lights (return to form for Oasis, honest!), to keep an anachronistic culture alive. [Granted Chantelle Fiddy had a little piece in this week's issue.] The heroes in King’s Reach Tower these days are the designers, who somehow make semiotic virtue out of all the meaningless non-pieces filed by writers unable to match either the glory days of rock prose or the insights available in cyber space.

So the Coldplay long player is almost obliged to come in at nine out of 10 in indie-tinted glasses. Which brings us to point deux. Chris Martin will continue to loom large in the public eye, but he’ll soon realise that his role will become that of a Bono-esque statesman. His far-more-worthwhile-than-his-‘worthy’-music roles in raising awareness of fair trade and acting as a sponsor of abstinence in these voracious times will keep him busy as the musical quest runs out of juice.

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