Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Concretes / In Colour / Rating: 4.7

"Now it seems like they're trying to make music for a Target commercial."

Now now. Lot’s of bands in the indie market have a song ( or 3+) appear in a television something or other. The OC, one of MTVs 8 million non music shows, and yes, commercials have become perhaps one of the biggest / most successful tools of the last decade to help break an artist to a mainstream audience. If Nick Drake was alive I bet he would agree with me. Spritualized and Polyphonic Spree would also applaud that. In recent terms I believe a Spoon track being used in the brand new Jaguar spots. Spoon? Um yeah sure, I guess that appeals to all those hipsters with mad cash to spend. Did any of these artists write these songs with the idea in mind that it will sell products or play soundtrack in an hour long episode of blah blah blah? I would really like to believe to the answer would be no and the while the PFM jab at The Concretes association with Target by no means is intended to say the band has gone too commercial (pun intended) on purpose, PFM still makes use of this product association in not even a back handed compliment kind of way, it is meant to be in insult.

The fact of the matter is not only does having a song used in a major national television ___ (insert name here) help to sell more records for an artist and expose them to a new audience, the money made from publishing rights is often the most money a band will see from making a record at all. The real point here is ad execs in charge of picking music for television have great taste in new music (not always but often) and if they are using a track to sell something, a product or an image, 9 times out of 10 the track is going to be catchy and memorable AKA a strong song. *

My friends let me be the first to tell you that there is hardly one strong song on In Colour and I can’t image Target or any other company wanting to use any of these mild mannered candy coated beyond the point of enjoyable material. Attention grabbing hit you between the eyes perfect pop never happens so PFM you have your use of Target in the review all backwards and shit.

The opening track “On the Radio” (ABBA for 2006) offers a glimpse of what could have been, something you might hit repeat to hear a second time while driving but a tease is what this song really is. It gives the false hope that something even better or at least equally decent awaits the listener and the reality is, there isn’t. The horns, humdrum lyrics, strings, mandolins, piano, slide guitar, yawned out melodies, glockenspiel…. and mid tempo beat after mid tempo beat crawl over the finish line of 12 tracks and play dead. “Chosen One” and “Fiction” make this tortoise race of a record something I don’t wholly regret wasting my time with but if I want plodding alt-country I will dig up a Ryan Adams records. Ha cha cha cha.

Needless to say I won’t argue with the PFM rating of 4.7. In Colour’s vibrant cover art of boxes doing their best to represent Technicolor is hands down the best thing going for The Concretes. Their band art is always meticulous and personally I would prefer to see this band move towards a career in the graphic arts.

* I should also mention companies prefer to license indie music tracks because paying for publishing rights to a track by say Madonna or Frank Sinatra cost more than you could possibly guess. Indie music = affordable. National name brand companies want catchy music while trying to keep their ad campaign cost to a minimum. Enter Radio 4 or Mr. Scruff or….