At the centre of this sombre gathering can be found Coldplay - the inspiration, it is being claimed - for a new wave of bands determined to reverse Bing Crosby's homespun wisdom by accentuating the negative and eliminating the positive from pop music.
The thesis is being expounded in a vicious new parody by the comedian Mitch Benn in his series Crimes Against Music, which is being broadcast on Radio 4 this week.
In it he identifies four bands: Keane, Snow Patrol, Embrace and the Thirteen Senses, which he says are guilty of sounding uncannily similar to Coldplay, whose dour hits have included "Yellow" and "Clocks". A third Coldplay album, following on from Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head, is due to be released this summer - one of the most keenly awaited releases of the year. Others have added a fifth band to the list, Athlete, whose current hit "Wires" is about the singer's baby on a life-support system.
In the new series, Benn laments: "Everything sounds like Coldplay now. No other sounds can be allowed ... Very restrained, not too much row ... This could be Embrace, Keane or Snow Patrol, Thirteen Senses sound like this as well I'm told..."
Benn's conjecture has prompted a flurry of debate in the pop music world where the miserablist tradition can be faithfully traced from Leonard Cohen to Morrissey and the Smiths, to such giants of modern-day gloom as Radiohead.
I think this is the same thing that is behind all the Linkin Park-like groups who moan about how miserable they are in half their songs, "Nobody understands me," and such nonsense. How unhappy can you be, making tons of money and being worshipped by young girls? I mean seriously.
I think Nirvana and Pearl Jam are as guilty as anyone else, and that's about when I stopped liking pop music. They were good bands who wrote good songs, but I can hear about people's problems at home or work. When I turn on the radio, I want to be entertained, and I don't get a kick out of hearing some overpaid whiner pretend he's nort having the time of his life being a rock star. If you really are miserable, keep it to yourself, Jack. Dance like a good monkey, then smile, bow and go have a good cry in your dressing room. Just leave me out of your psychodrama.