Electric Soft Parade - No Need To Be Downhearted

What does the term indie mean, nowadays? It is a question that many bands who are often put under this umbrella, struggle to answer in interviews. Two Brighton musos answer the question in actions, not words. Tom and Alex White, whose multi-instrumental interplay and vocal labouring forms the fulcrum of Electric Soft Parade, have always done it their own way. Lately, they have provided the fire and thrust to the quirky, blitz rock engine of Brakes (Eammon Hamilton from British Sea Power’s new band), giving a hint as to why it might have taken four years for this third album to hit the public domain. Whatever they have done in the past, they have always used music as a form of discovery, expression and a show of their independence. The hollow, piano led Duke Special foraging in the musical undergrowth with Badly Drawn Boy pitch and sound of the title track, represents a more searching and subtle mood building step for Electric Soft Parade. A spacey tone follows and contrasts with this for ‘Life In The Backseat’, changing the vibe and pace with devilish skill and judgement.

 There is a certain brooding nature that seeps through the back catalogue and spills over into this foray. It comes out with impunity in the dawdling ballad ‘Secrets’. Featuring lyrical snippets that would be well placed next to Murphy’s Law in the Oxford English Book of Quotations;

“Keep your feelings well hid they will only get trodden on.”

The wandering blues approach of ‘Come Back Inside’, builds in pleading vocals against a backdrop of subtle choral backing and pinging bass-lines to emphasise the points made about emotions and spontaneity. This album projects a variety of feelings, moods, styles and rhythms, rather than the groove maintenance approach that has been prevalent on the past two albums. If it takes four more years for Tom and Alex to produce another offering of musical depth, strength, empiricism and broad range like this, then I don’t think too many true indie connoisseurs will be complaining.

David Adair

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