|The Electric Soft Parade — Idiots (2013)|
The Electric Soft Parade — Idiots A record to make you very happy...
♦ The sound of The Electric Soft Parade belatedly coming of age.
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Album release: June 17 (UK)/June 25 (US), 2013
Vinyl: July 22nd, 2013
Record Label: Helium
01. The Sun Never Sets Around Here 3:24
02. Summertime In My Heart 3:33
03. Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone 2:36
04. The Corner Of Highdown And Montefiore 7:28
05. Idiots 4:38
06. Mr. Mitchell 4:07
07. One Of Those Days 3:06
08. Lily 4:02
09. Welcome To The Wierdness 5:20
10. Never Again 2:38
♦ Thomas White (drums)
♦ Alex White (vocals/guitar)
♦ Andrew Mitchell
♦ Matthew Twaites
♦ Damo Waters
♦ Steven Large
♦ Mathew Priest
♦ Matt Eaton
♦ Joe Harling
♦ Alan Grice
♦ Alistair Gavan
♦ Russell Gleason
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≡ Alex and Thomas White are the sibling duo at the creative heart of the ‘02 Mercury prize nominated The Electric Soft Parade, a Brighton U.K. band that sport their ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s pop/rock influences like badges of irony~free honor. Idiots, their fourth longplayer in a just over a decade and first since 2007, is an unpretentious and organic mix of Brit Invasion jangle, New Wave~y energy and modern dream pop, Brian Wilson harmonies happily riding atop a swoon of melodies that simultaneously recall ELO, Del Amitri, Prefab Sprout and Belle and Sebastian. “We just wanted to pare everything down to its most essential parts,” says brother Alex. “Everything on the record has to be there, and anything that wasn’t needed went.”
CATALOGUE NO: HeCD043 / HeLP04
Ξ On their fourth album, ‘Idiots’, Electric Soft Parade draw inspiration from across the spectrum: a weird and wonderful encyclopaedia of pop, devouring and regurgitating the most disparate of influences yet, as ever, sounding like no other band around.
Ξ A little more than a decade on from their ground~breaking ‘Holes In The Wall’ album, the brothers White are reunited with the team that produced their classic debut. This meeting of minds has once again produced a hugely ambitious, kaleidoscope of melodies and songs that promise to put the band firmly back on the map.
Ξ Tom and Alex White, the creative core of ESP, are tirelessly innovative musicians from Brighton, intent on breaking musical and public perceptions. ‘Holes In The Wall’ (db records) was released in 2002 to great critical acclaim. The past and future collided with all boxes gloriously ticked. Everyone loved it. The album included two UK top 40 hits and led to appearances on Top Of The Pops and Later With Jools Holland. The accolades rolled in — Q New Band Award, Mercury Music Prize nomination etc.
Ξ The new album, recorded with producers Chris Hughes and Mark Frith in the summer of 2012, is a refreshing, uplifting slice of psychedelic pop. The wonderfully light~hearted ‘Mr. Mitchell’ is a sweet dedication to their friend and guitarist, Andrew Mitchell of the Dundee based group, The Hazey Janes. The first single ‘Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone’ and ‘Welcome To The Weirdness’ showcase the brothers’ trademark harmonies, while the slower~spaced ‘The Corner of Highdown and Montefiore ‘ is poignant and achingly beautiful. The album marks another turning point in the band’s career, both personally and professionally.
Ξ It’s their most confident, real and accomplished work to date. Electric Soft Parade are back, at the peak of their creative powers and stronger than ever…
Ξ “It’s been more than a decade since the irresistible indie charm of ‘Empty At The End’ briefly made The Electric Soft Parade the next big thing.
Ξ It wasn’t quite to be and, while brothers Alex and Thomas White have continued to put out music at infrequent intervals, fourth album ‘IDIOTS’ arrives with little fanfare. And yet, this might be their moment.
Ξ It’s a beautifully sunny, unashamedly melodic tour de force which pitches up somewhere between a fevered Beatles obsession and a well~loved pile of Go~Betweens records. Just as Teenage Fanclub possess the rare knack of sweetening their songs without making them sickly, ESP happily go through the gears every time, throwing out key changes and layered harmonies like they’ve got an expiry date.
Ξ Lyrically, the themes are well worn; but you have to wonder if this is part of the conscious aping of those who have inspired them. “The sun never shined on me until you came around,” may not be a new sentiment, but played out at the heart of a glistening chorus it can subdue the most miserly cynic.
Ξ Some records make you think, some records redefine whole genres. And some, like ‘IDIOTS’, just make you very happy.”
Ξ Un album dont la sortie fait réellement plaisir!
By Kevin Dunn, 18 June 2013
≡ To call a psych~pop album “derivative” would be to completely miss the point. However, it is also something that happens all the time. Bands that write in this style, for the most part, are not looking to change a whole lot about it, and while many non~fans are sure to say “They just want to be the Beatles” or something similar, it really makes one wonder: Is that really so bad? Besides, calling something “derivative” is much more of an insult when the style is being capitalized on during a period of high marketability. (I’m looking at you, Their Satanic Majesties Request.)
≡ Regardless, great psychedelic pop bands never merely copy what has come before them, but rather, they draw from their influences and find a way to make it sound new — and with a name like The Electric Soft Parade, brothers Alex and Thomas White aren’t exactly hiding the fact that they have some 1960s precursors.
≡ Their first full~length album under this moniker since 2007’s No Need to Be Downhearted, IDIOTS finds The Electric Soft Parade basically exploring a similar sound to the one that they've associated themselves with since the beginning, which is sure to make fans and newcomers alike very happy.
≡ And why wouldn’t it? After all, there’s a lot to be happy about on IDIOTS. For instance, it is suggested in the almost saccharine opener that unabashedly takes full advantage of pop song structure, “The sun never shined on me until you came around / And now the sun never sets around here,” as if it’s that completely dreadful to fall in love.
≡ The Beach Boys~style harmonies found in songs like ‘Summertime In My Heart’ and others make IDIOTS a perfect sunny day album, one that is full of sunshine even in its darkest moments.
≡ One such dark moment is ‘The Corner of Highdown and Montefiore’ which starts as a low~key acoustic ballad with a melody that kind of recalls the work of Elliott Smith before going into a chorus that is more akin to bands like Radiohead at some of their stronger moments. The Electric Soft Parade even offer their trippy take on the ‘Hey Jude’~style, repetitive~but~in~motion ending which makes the song extremely contemplative.
≡ On the subject of Paul McCartney, songs like ‘Mr. Mitchell’ prove that ESP have been studying the craft of writing catchy pop tunes for some time now and that their work has definitely paid off. The piano~based song that boasts some really great descending harmonies on the chorus is the kind of effort that will always be interesting, and the wonderfully executed meter change near the end is as delightful as it is surprising. The fade out at the end of the track made me realize how little you hear fade outs anymore and suggests that this would be a great song for the radio.
≡ Being their first album in seven years, it is clear that IDIOTS was well worth the wait. It is an album by a band that knows what it’s good at and takes full advantage of their pop songwriting abilities.
Words: Gareth James
≡ It’s been more than a decade since the irresistible indie charm of ‘Empty At The End’ briefly made The Electric Soft Parade the next big thing.
≡ It wasn’t quite to be and, while brothers Alex and Thomas White have continued to put out music at infrequent intervals, fourth album ‘IDIOTS’ arrives with little fanfare. And yet, this might be their moment.
≡ It’s a beautifully sunny, unashamedly melodic tour de force which pitches up somewhere between a fevered Beatles obsession and a well~loved pile of Go~Betweens records. Just as Teenage Fanclub possess the rare knack of sweetening their songs without making them sickly, ESP happily go through the gears every time, throwing out key changes and layered harmonies like they’ve got an expiry date.
≡ Lyrically, the themes are well worn; but you have to wonder if this is part of the conscious aping of those who have inspired them. “The sun never shined on me until you came around,” may not be a new sentiment, but played out at the heart of a glistening chorus it can subdue the most miserly cynic.
≡ Some records make you think, some records redefine whole genres. And some, like ‘IDIOTS’, just make you very happy.
By David Welsh | 13 June 2013 Score: ***½
Reviewer: Martyn Young | Score: 7/10
Any Decent Music; Score: 6.7
Mojo; Score: 8.0
The Quietus Score: 7.0
NME; Score: 6.0
Q; Score: 4.0
≡ Holes in the Wall (DB Records CD/LP, February 2002) UK No. 35
≡ The American Adventure (BMG CD/LP, October 2003) UK No. 45
≡ No Need to Be Downhearted (Truck Records/Better Looking Records CD, April 2007) UK No. 163
≡ IDIOTS (Helium Records CD/Vinyl/Download, June 2013)
≡ “Silent to the Dark” / “Something’s Got To Give” (DB Records CD/7” Single, April 2001)
≡ “Empty at the End” / “Sumatran” (DB Records CD/7” Single, July 2001) UK No. 65
≡ “There’s A Silence” (DB Records CD/7” Single, October 2001) UK No. 52
≡ “Silent to the Dark II” (DB Records CD/7” Single, March 2002) UK No. 23
≡ “Empty at the End” / “This Given Line” (DB Records CD/7” Single, May 2002) UK# 39
≡ “Same Way, Every Day” (DB Records CD/7” Single, September 2002)
≡ “Things I’ve Done Before” (BMG 7” Single, September 2003)
≡ “Lose Yr Frown” (BMG 7” Single, November 2003)
≡ “The Human Body EP” (Truck Records CD, November 2005)
≡ “Life in the Back~Seat” (Truck Records 7” Single, October 2006)
≡ “If That’s The Case, Then I Don’t Know” (Truck Records 7” Single, March 2007)
≡ “Misunderstanding” (Truck Records 7” Single, July 2007)
≡ “Appropriate Ending EP” (Truck Records Download, November 2007)
≡ “A Quick One EP” (A Quick One Records 7”/Download, July 2011)
≡ “Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone” (Helium Records Download, April 2013)