Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Beyond the Valley of the Proles

Many myths exist within the music industry, such as the belief that Embrace are a good band; that Oasis' meagre talent in any way deserves the attention and acclaim that they are afforded; and that every album that the Beatles released was listenable, let alone any good. However, all of these pale into insignificance when compared to the almost slanderous nature of one of the biggest myths of current music journalism - that, in 1998, there is a healthy and innovative music scene in South Wales.

This falsehood may even have been a contributing factor for your presence in this university, you could easily have been sucked in by the belief that, as one of the largest urban centres in Wales, Swansea would be able to provide an environment in which music was allowed to be anything other than a sound-track to the desperate masses found roaming the Kingsway most nights of the week.

While Manchester, Seattle, Glasgow and even Camden were able to provide the evidence justifying the claims, all Wales has been able to offer so far has been the Manic Street Preachers, Super Furry Animals, Helen Love and a number of third rate indie bands. When a scene is represented by the likes of Stereophonics, alarm bells should be ringing, even if Richard Branson now believes the future of music is Welsh (it should however be remembered he also believes he can travel the world by hot air balloon).

The opinions expressed by Stereophonics should give be giving you further cause for concern - they want to be compared to 'great' bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival and Live; and that every band in London just wants to please the music industry - and if you're such a hard-working band, then why was the b-side to your first single re-released as your third, and your second single re-released as your sixth (ever thought that maybe you're just working to please your record label)?

It would appear to that Newport and Cardiff are largely responsible for the misguided notion that Wales has anything to offer us musically. Surely if two of the largest cities in Wales regularly attract big names then there must be some substance to their lies. Sadly this is not the case, and if your International Arena has a maximum capacity of seven thousand, then whom are you trying to fool.

It is time for the music industry to admit they were wrong. It may only take one tree to make a thousand matches, and one match to burn down a thousand trees; but it will take more than a thousand pub-rock bands to convince me that Wales is anything other than cultural vacuum, for the most part incapable of generating anything more innovative than apathy and mediocrity amongst the masses.