Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

It's time to sing praises of guitars

Subtle riffs: pop star Gary Lightbody keeps plucking away

London local paper The Guardian reports that guitar music is coming back. But it adds: "Sadly, it's likely to be rubbish."

Mixed news, obliviously. The guitar is at the heart of rock and even, in its heyday, of pop.

However, a concerted, keyboard-based campaign undermined it. I like keyboards as much as the next prog rocker and can stand a 20-minute solo without my earlobes wilting.

But popsters took sophisticated instruments such as synthesisers and reduced them to vehicles for two-chord plinky-plinky tunes. Simultaneously, inverted snobbery relegated guitars to the background.

Virtuosos were derided. Even guitar magazines gave out CDs on which you could hardly hear the guitars. Subtle it was supposed to be. Tasteful too. It was mince.

The guitar went underground. True, it still figured in heavy metal, a genre that refuses to stay in the grave about which it so often sings.

Not my cup of tea, except perhaps the prog metal of Dream Theater, and even then only in small doses.

The Guardian derides the new stuff as "tame" poppy fusion, and cites Dublin's Little Green Cars as an example.

Just checked them on YouTube. Not bad. But, yup, way too wimpy. Harmonies and everything.

Will somebody out there please crank up an amp and get some feedback shrieking?

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