The Electric Soft Parade – [Album]

Friday, 16 March 2007

Finding Guernsey on a map can be mere guesswork, but some 75 miles off the coast of Great Britain in the English Channel, one finds the tiny island that is Britain’s last existing fiefdom. Although things might be changing for the little kingdom in Parliament, Guernsey’s pastoral setting of green hills and steep cliffs is conveniently nestled away from England’s urbanity, its provincial attire made complete in legal guidelines. It is country without being backward, rural without being dogmatic. The Electric Soft Parade, though from Brighton, are a sweet taste of this unconventionality—an island sticking out from London’s dance bands with a hymn for the sea and coast.

No Need to be Downhearted
, The Electric Soft Parade’s third full-length, slated for release this spring, finds the band paying less homage to The Doors (look no further than Morrison’s pop orientations on Soft Parade to know what I’m getting at) and concentrating their efforts on a place, an internal location in which brothers Tom and Alex White venture to look from the outside in. As observers of environment, they have created a presence of mood in the construction of lush and ethereal instrumentation on love, life and everything in between. Defined by a gentle soft-spoken quality, the album successfully builds something beautifully uplifting according to a sophisticated code of perceptivity laden in sweeping harmonic layers.

And these heavy sheets of resonance parallel the time and effort the band attunes to. The wait between full-length albums has found the group at the helm of their first solo endeavor, with all aspects of production in their hands. No Need to be Downhearted is the most individual of the group’s musical efforts, and the brothers White have learned a lot within the span of half a decade. While The American Adventure looked to analogue, the bridge and solidification between rock and conventional wisdom—that guitar music can be vital and telling—has been cohesively assembled. The Electric Soft Parade has made melancholy appealing, provided by “Woken by a Kiss” and “Misunderstanding,” gorgeously manifested pop songs as well as tender love tracks. “If that’s the case, then I don’t know” and “Secrets” bring to mind a dismal embrace, a “downheartedness” the title so emphatically tries to avoid. But The Electric Soft Parade has made the downtrodden convincingly reassuring.

The band may not sound like a London dance trend, however Brighton outfit The Electric Soft Parade has created its own landscape—idyllic, atmospheric derivatives of the seaside, the sonic bliss of the outdoors: the innate difference of providing soul rather than sway.

No Need To Be Downhearted will be released April 30th on Better Looking Records

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