New Electric Soft Parade album?

From the Electric Soft Parade Facebook So if Alex and I were to do ESP #5 and fund it through some sort of Kickstarter-esque crowd-funding setup, would you lot support us in that kind of endeavour? We’ve umm-ed and ahh-ed about how to do some new stuff for quite a while now, and this looks like it might be the most feasible way forward. It may even allow us to tour the record at home and abroad, etc etc. We’d start album 5 tomorrow if we knew we could afford studio time and turn out the best fucking record of our career for our none-more-loyal peeps! Whadda y’all think?

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The Fiction Aisle – Jupiter, Florida

Jupiter, Florida by The Fiction Aisle will be released worldwide on 19th January! BUY HEREBANDCAMPFacebook hereLISTEN ON SPOTIFYLISTEN ON YOUTUBE

Thomas James White is nothing if not prolific. Jupiter, Florida is the third album in just two years from his latest project The Fiction Aisle and is released through Chord Orchard on January 19th.

Whilst the previous two Fiction Aisle albums were low-key, limited edition affairs – the result of White taking a deliberate step back from the music industry – his ongoing mission into widescreen emotional pop has reached tipping point with Jupiter, Florida. This cult act are now ripe for wider discovery.

Despite their swoonsome, electro-orchestral arrangements, the first two Fiction Aisle albums were created in a swirl of depression and drink, largely exploring the personal rollercoaster White had been on since coming out as a gay man. An artist with rock solid credentials – a founding member of The Electric Soft Parade and Brakes, and a host of solo works and collaborations with the likes of Patrick Wolf and British Sea Power amongst his impressive CV – White is now reconnected and channeling his muse into something profoundly positive.

Drawing from a musical palette of influences including Nina Simone, Harry Nilsson, Broadcast and Lee Hazlewood’s 1970 album Cowboy in Sweden, and produced at Jolyon Holroyd’s Valvetastic Studio near Exeter, from its opening cut, ‘Gone Today’, Jupiter, Florida announces that things are getting better in the world of Thomas James White.

Pulp-ish ballad ‘Some Things Never Die’ is a co-write with White’s life-partner. It’s about, explains White – “that sad/beautiful feeling that when we leave this world, it will carry on as normal and we’re just this thing passing through for a little while, making our tiny little imperceptible mark. Those intense emotional moments where things are so heightened you’re almost seeing and sensing the world in multiple dimensions, or with extra senses. It’s my favourite song on the record, and I think some of my best writing so far.”

‘Black River’ is a photographic wintery snapshot about how accepting change may be the key to happiness; the Morrissey-esque ‘Ten Years Time’ is full of pithy self-assessment, while the twinkling space-disco of ‘Memory’ is aglow with hope.

“I don’t keep a diary,” Thomas explains, “but a record is a loose encapsulation of a period of time. In a lot of ways the new album is a break from the past – it’s me saying, ‘Right, I’m going to do something with all this building up inside me’.”

Titled after a white picket fence American town, Jupiter, Florida is the sound of Thomas James White mining his emotions with newfound relish, letting The Fiction Aisle truly blossom, ready for whatever comes next.

1. Gone Today
2. The End of the Affair
3. Ten Years
4. Black River
5. Sweetness & Light
6. Memory
7. Some Things Never Die
8. Will I Get Where I’m Going Before I’m Ready?

Jupiter, Florida Reviews – click links to read in full

apessimistisneverdisappointed.com The band’s music is superb, and in line with the sort of thing one heard on later Boo Radleys records, for an easy comparison point. I really can’t stress enough what a wonderful listen this one was for me.

Tracks like “Gone Today” see White favor a kind of languid spaciousness in his sound that is inviting rather than indulgent, while the downright lovely “The End of the Affair” suggests those Aztec Camera records where Roddy Frame favored smooth production and sleek surfaces in his sound. “Sweetness and Light” percolates like the best sort of Britpop stuff that White clearly draws a lot of inspiration from even still, while the longer “Memory” is trippy and closer to what Spiritualized was doing at one point in the past. If Thomas White is using parts of the output of The Fiction Aisle to explore some interesting sonic corners, he’s also clearly a strong songwriter and one who is interested in classic forms. Looking to predecessors as diverse as Lennon and Bacharach, White can pen a really strong hook, like on “Some Things Never Die”, even as the final cut on the record, the epic “Will I Get Where I’m Going Before I’m Ready?”, nearly drifts away even as it gently enchants with waves of the melody-line coming in like slow ripples from a distant ship on the horizon.

Jupiter, Florida was such a pleasant surprise to me that I am almost angry that I hadn’t heard of this band so much earlier. The Fiction Aisle make beautiful and affecting music that both fits with the sort of Brit-rock I consumed some decades ago, even as it expands the genre in some interesting and unexpected ways.

brightonsfinest.com He’s back with his third album in just two years and it’s a hugely enjoyable listen with yet more melancholic ambience.

Jupiter, Florida is a very difficult album to pigeonhole. Its soaring, sweeping orchestrals that wouldn’t be out of place on a film soundtrack are incorporated with a collection of fantastic 90s work. For example, opening song ‘Gone Today’ has the melodic charm of an early Morrissey album, but the otherworldliness of Spiritualized. It becomes quite clear early on that White has an immense amount of talent for ambient melody. In fact, it instantly feels like an album that overcomes your entire body with inflected assonance.

For an album released in the middle of winter, it’s a summery, warming listen at times. ‘Ten Years’, for example, recalls the soothing, reassuring tones of Father John Misty with the brass section of Pink Floyd’s Animals. Likewise, ‘The End of The Affair’ is where the jazz inflections come to fruition. The Fiction Aisle has always been a project that is exceptional in its audacity and its production.

The best song on the record is without a doubt ‘Black River’. The sheer scope of the song is massive, but it’s the execution that is most impressive. With its sentimental pop escalation, dynamic guitar lines and sweeping synthesisers it’s a colossal song that continues to propel forward until its surging finale. If Tame Impala released this you wouldn’t be surprised, it’s certainly a song that is deserving of a massive festival crowd.

Additionally, Thomas White’s voice is an absolute delight, worthy of a listen at any point in your day. Like the huskiness of Cage the Elephant frontman Matt Shultz, mixed with Kevin Parker’s sentimentality, it’s arguably the strongest part of the project and the album. This is especially clear on ‘Sweetness & Light’ which is admirable in its idealistic and aestival aura. Furthermore, ‘Memory’ sees White exploring the dance-pop genre with an introduction that sounds like The xx exploding into a bombastic 80s pop song akin to Tears for Fears or Visage.

Ultimately, this is an album that is a spectacular achievement, showcasing White’s awesome production expertise, impassioned magnitude and rhythmic ambidexterity. Jupiter, Florida is a glimmering pop album that feels like high-art. It’s a pensive and studious record that is comparable to some of the greatest artists in music but, crucially, it’s also a hell of a lot of fun.

itstartswithabirthstone.blogspot.co.uk Thomas White, the guiding force behind the band has a credible indie CV in Brakes and Electric Soft Parade. Here he expresses a rather different and more thoughtful vision.

The Fiction Aisle are an elegaic concern. Musing on the passage of time and how life happens to us just as much as us being conductors of it. With a sound supplemented by woodwind and burbling almost eighties synth to augment the standard indie trimmings, the record pleasingly recalls the likes of The Clientele and Blue Nile, characters who were content to haunt the margins of the Pop World.

It’s one of the more exciting albums to appear in 2018, a year that I’ve already complained has taken a while to get going, for me at least, musically. Jupiter Florida does its bit to make amends. A fine record with a quiet and achieved inner ambition.

theartsdesk.com This time round the mood is more tentatively upbeat than previously, and White’s Pink Floyd-ish tendencies are on the back burner, but, at its core, cosmic easy listening is still the game.

The Fiction Aisle aspire to John Barry’s cinematic orchestrated scope, but tinted with hints of Morrissey’s vocal tics, and a broader electronic palette scoping about underneath. “Memory” even has a touch of late Nineties/early Millennial chill-out about it. However, it’s White’s characterful lyrical pith that sets The Fiction Aisle apart, giving his catchy songwriting extra reach and heft.

Previous outings have broached depression in an occasionally desperate or hedonistic manner but “Ten Years” hints at a newfound peace, or at least looking the issue in the eye (“It’s up to me to find any positivity – do I have the strength?”), while indie-ish opener “Gone Today”, despite its summery vibes, may be about existing in the moment rather than letting the past and future nag at the mind.

Another stand-out track is “Sweetness & Light”, a very straightforward, unembarrassed modern love song that’s also contagious. As the album goes on, White relaxes into it, spreading out, letting the sonic stylings grow ever more blissed, notably on the multi-tracked vocals of “Black River”, which bring to mind sunshine in 1970s LA, and the lusciousness of “Some Things Never Die”, until he eventually ends up drifting off on the final ten-minute “Will I Get Where I’m Going Before I’m Ready?”, with its extended instrumental passages heading into balminess.

Jupiter, Florida is as sunny as its title suggests, but cut through with a realist’s lyrical perspective, albeit a realist with a tendency to dream. Once again, The Fiction Aisle prove to be mining original, thoughtful and often lovely territory with a class that’s a cut above the usual.

The Fiction Aisle – Fuchsia Days

From the Mailout: We are extremely pleased to announce the arrival of our second long-player, Fuchsia Days, out today (17/06/16) via Chord Orchard/AWAL.

Described by thethinair.net as “…remarkably immersive…striking a keen, almost meditatively restrained balance between ambient, dream-pop and drone…”, the album is available to buy now across all digital platforms. Physical copies (limited-edition hand-numbered deluxe CD/digipak) are available exclusively from the Chord Orchard webshop.

Physical copies: chordorchard.bandcamp.comiTunes

Full album streaming now exclusively at thethinair.net

Listen to Fuchsia Days on Spotify For shows see The Fiction Aisle Facebook

Fuchsia Days Reviews and Interviews – click links to read in full

crayolalectern.blogspot.co.uk Every now and again, although less and less frequently, a piece of music arrives which feels like a cosmic gift, soothing and allowing my mind to wander in a new space, free from the burdens of the world without denying them. It allows me to contemplate the world and my time here whilst affording the luxury of creating a vast 3-dimensional illusory world where I am free to roam, to imagine.

It is a ghost land where I fall in love all over again. It reminds me of the love I have in my life and teaches me to remember this, not to take any of it for granted. This is music which brings tears – healing tears which have remained unshed for too long; a very physical reaction of the skin as the music drifts through me, goosebumps, hairs on the back of the neck, the body is undergoing a deep tissue spirit massage.

It doesn’t demand you listen to it either, rather it draws you in. I believe in music as a force of magic, that we can change people’s minds in some ways. There’s an element of the hypnotist in the exceptional composers and music makers; Thomas White can count himself as one of them.

If this sounds all a bit hippy dippy, I have to say that is not where I’m coming from. I’m coming from the same places of pain, stress, worry and occasional despair which most of us experience. This music is a gift in that it appears to understand this and it offers to hold our hand through its journey.

I really feel that I will enjoy this album for some years to come.

monolithcocktail.com Still crooning the same unrequited dramas in the Bacharach/Sinatra/Hawley tones, Thomas White as The Fiction Aisle has however moved on from the plaintive sumptuous orchestral suites of his last epic Heart Map Rubric for something more explorative. Inspired in part by the ambient panoramic sweeps and mood pieces of Eno, White’s smooth longing timbre lingers palatial style over a series of expansive soundtracks on his latest epic, Fuchsia Days.

A musical polymath on the Brighton scene, used to adapting new sounds, White has successfully shifted between the enervated halcyon psych of the Electric Soft Parade and the rambunctious indie/alternative country rock of the Brakes, to hone a solo career as a wry and weary romantic crooner.

Wistfully, lilting, occupying the same sentiments and musical ground as Robert Wyatt’s Cuckooland and Paddy McAloon’s I Trawl The Megahertz, Fuchsia Days, despite its often-lamentable themes, allows White’s vocals to wander meditatively. On the stirring suffused, Spiritualised heaven bound, ‘Tonight’ and the cinematic minor opus title track his voice disappears completely; emotion and heartbreak described instead by the subtle instrumental layers of gradual release.

Though imbued with his new ambient settings, White still repeats the melodic traces of McCartney, and occasionally Harrison; especially with the underplayed romance, but less cynical heartbreaker ‘The Dream’: a real tear-jerker that you could imagine being penned by a Sunflower/Friends era Bruce Johnston. And on the universal encapsulated opener ‘Dust’, there are reverberations of both ELO and Queen’s vocal effects.

There’s nothing to pine over, no regrets, White’s latest vessel still channels the same balladry emotions and concerns. The songwriting has just been given more space to breathe; flowing, fluctuating and lulling over sweeping romantic and sometime elegiac organ evoked maladies to capture age-old woes and boons. Another successful transition from White.

theartsdesk.com Fuchsia Days, as its title, punning on a classic Can album, hints, moves things on. The main comparison that springs to mind, however, is not Krautrock but Pink Floyd in their ruminative mid-Seventies pomp. Opening cut “Dust”, a multi-tracked, synth-tickled acapella, recalls their Wish You Were Here period, with a smidgeon of “Bohemian Rhapsody”-era Queen thrown in. Gone is the indie idiom: The Fiction Aisle have cut loose and floated off, as the deliciously gigantic, melancholic “The Dream” makes clear.

The cuddly, almost ecclesiastical “Tonight” is akin to a 12-minute tribute to late Floyd keys-man Rick Wright. However, Fuchsia Days does not wibble into tune-free noodle. White’s way with an easy listening melody is intact and his love-lorn lyrics ground things. “Country Mile” is an ode to a Scandinavian good time but could be read as a brass-led elegy for post-EU Britain with lyrics such as “We’re all inside our own heads now/We are leaving new friends, leaving this town,” and “Won’t be seeing you for a long while… I feel lost.” Whatever it’s about, it’s beautiful, as is “Threnody (for EA)”, which comes on like a sumptuous fusion of Radiohead and The Polyphonic Spree.

Everything ends with the 14-minute title track, another instrumental suite that strongly recalls Vangelis’s seminal music for the film Bladerunner. Fuchsia Days is a bold move sideways and forward, making this a band to watch like a hawk. At this rate, they’ll have another one out by Christmas. Fingers crossed.

thethinair.net Led by former Electric Soft Parade/Brakes musical polymath Thomas White, The Fiction Aisle are a Brighton-based musical collective whose second album, Fuschia Days, establishes them as a singular alt-pop force in the making. Spanning seven tracks, the album – which we’re pleased to premiere here – is a remarkably immersive release, striking a keen, almost meditatively restrained balanced between ambient, dream-pop and drone in the vein of Robert Wyatt, Broadcast and Flaming Lips‘ more symphonic efforts. With White’s monophonic Oberheim OB-1 synth at the heart of the mesmeric soundtrack-like quality of the album, it’s a wistful, beautifully-rendered journey traversing everything from true love, ecstasy and death to depression, madness and space. All the classics.

theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.co.uk A wonderful album of drifting orchestral pop from the former Electric Soft Parade man Thomas White of Brighton and friends.

It is a collection of pieces unhindered by percussion or rhythm in the conventional sense. Instead each song drifts as if free of gravity and there is very much a sense of suspension above the earth in the bed of synth rumbles and drones.

Opener ‘Dust’ has immediate shades of baroque in its vocal layers and meaty chords, although that feeling is soon overtaken by spacey bleeps and whines.

The atmosphere of ‘Salt in the wound’ is akin to drifting in space, with echoes and whispers and asteroid trails, before a booming church organ launches behind the words “You don’t know what love is”. It’s as if White has embarked on the ultimate interplanetary journey to escape the pain and loss of earthly existence.

‘The dream’ has an unmistakeable Beach Boys flavour, a reaching chord-shifting quality similar to something like ‘A day in the life as a tree’ from Surf’s up.

The elegaic near-instrumental ‘Tonight’ is reminiscient of the outer reaches of Paddy McAloon, as White hums along to an irresistible meandering synth symphony. It’s 12 minutes long but the minutes fly by in a kind of extended rapture.

The ambient space hum of the title track, replete with choral and cosmic undertones, is another heavenly 14 minute kosmische drift of endless possibilities.

There’s even a cover of a Camera Obscura song, ‘Country mile’, as if the album wasn’t glorious enough already.

I’m not sure if melancholy is the right word but there is a definite sadness running through the record. However it is wrapped in such gorgeous and intriguing musical forms that it doesn’t seem to define the record.

Which makes this an uplifting and triumphant record.

The Fiction Aisle’s Heart Map Rubric

The Fiction Aisle’s Heart Map Rubric is out now across all platforms, but to purchase from iTunes or Bandcamp would be to directly support the group.

iTunesBandcampSpotify

Visit The Fiction Aisle Facebook for more info and shows.

Heart Map Rubric Reviews and Interviews – click links to read in full

brightondome.org What are the main influences on your sound?

The band takes cues from all sorts of things. We’re all massive Broadcast fans – Trish Keenan has been a huge influence on all of us over the years. Likewise Goldfrapp has had an enduring influence on my songwriting, though one of my biggest influences over the past few years absolutely has to be The Clientele. Alastair Maclean’s writing and guitar playing hit me straight away, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. During the very early stages of putting the band together I listened to a lot of Noel Coward, Chet Baker and Irving Berlin. The greats of the jazz age played a huge part in crystallising in my mind what it was that I wanted to achieve with this group.

How would you describe your sound?

The group is probably best described as a cross between a jazz band of the 1930s and a psych-rock group of the 1970s. There’s orchestral instruments in there – clarinets, trumpet, piano – but we also have three electric guitarists, and the sound can get very layered, so there’s always lots of contrasting elements playing off each other.

brightonsfinest.com Tom has now made a big jump away from his previous endeavours, forming The Fiction Aisle in 2014 with no less than nine musicians from the who’s who of Brighton artists including Alan Grice (Octopuses and Fierce Friend), Adam Kidd (Fragile Creatures), Louis Macgillivray, Gemma Williams (Woodpecker Woolliams and Becky Becky), Holly Fitzgerald, Jordan Duggie (Actress Hands), Iain Worrall (Spectrum and TV One) and Craig Chapman. The sound is more jazz inspired lounge music than the alternative rock or punk that featured in previous projects – being described “as a cross between a jazz band of the 1930s and a psych-rock group of the 1970s”. This really excites me and it should excite you too, as it is bold and far away from anything you would have heard of recently.

Heart Map Rubric really is a theatrical masterpiece of orchestrated wonderment and it is sure to make you want to seek its outcome more and more as you listen. Tom has obviously put a lot of thought into how the songs flow, mould and fit together, utilising the large amount of talent involved to get what started out in his imagination onto an audio file. He has created a gorgeous soundtrack of self-inspection that is reminiscent of the easy-listening High Llamas or the lush sounds of Goldfrapp, but done in a way that is so unique and weirdly current that it will make you obsess.

jammerzine.com White has perfected a knack for complex musical arrangement and maximalist melodic counterpoint, an approach that reaches its logical, mind-boggling conclusion with The Fiction Aisle’s audacious, sprawling debut album. With echoes of 1940s jazz at its most louche and lush, the 10-piece group infuses that seductive atmosphere with stark modern ambiance – skittish drum breaks, distant brass and layered guitars providing an unsettling backdrop for deeply personal ruminations on life and love.

For 62 compelling minutes, The Fiction Aisle thread disparate themes into a complete whole – cavernous walls of distortion underpin meticulously arranged orchestral passages, lone voices emerge wide-eyed and pure amid the cacophony, the precise and exact in harmony with the vague and ambiguous, calling forth past eras yet pregnant with possibility in a bright, beautiful present.

musicforlunch.com The record is lazy, subdued and patient from start to finish but despite the vocabulary I use to describe it, it’s far from dull. Every track is a sonic journey through jazz, alternative rock, lo-fi and lounge-core. Every track gives the band’s entire host of instruments a chance to shine. Every track blossoms with time, beginning simplistically, easy to digest then the layers of instruments develop thickly, and the innards of each track hold lovely surprises.

Heart Map Rubric is record is a gem and I’m proud to have it sitting in my musical collection. The lyrics are simultaneously serious, comical, melancholic and celebratory describing love, lust, internal strife and reflection and they sit so very perfectly atop the rich and overflowing instrumentals.

neverenoughnotes.co.uk The Fiction Aisle’s avant-garde, exquisite approach to dealing with a whole load of shit is something to be admired. Frontman Thomas White, of Electric Soft Parade and Brakes fame, describes his ‘Heart Map Rubric’ album as a dumping of his twenties when he struggled with self-destruction, self-realisation, and a whole lot more.

“The record is really one massive, fuck-off break-up record. I’d spent my twenties in a series of by turns beautiful, and rather destructive, relationships. I got to about 26 and came out as gay. As I remember it, pretty much overnight. In fact I met a guy while out in Egypt on holiday, and I think that romance gave me the courage to come back home and be myself, be totally open about my sexuality. He was an amazing guy. I remember him very fondly.

Incidentally my father came out at almost exactly the same time. Not an easy few months. The album details a lot of what I experienced during my first proper relationship with a man, the relationship itself and also the break-up and my immediate life following it. I won’t go into detail out of respect, but it ended pretty horrifically. We both hurt each other in unimaginable ways. Me as much as him. I guess when I first broke through that psychological wall I was in ecstasy – I’d spent so many years dreaming of being with a man, to finally find the strength to just fuck what other people think and be myself, that’s a hugely liberating feeling.

The record quite directly documents the last year of that relationship and the following year, which turned out to be pretty fucking crazy for me too. Drugs, lots of drinking, some pretty nuts times. Not an easy ride, turning thirty. Running parallel to all that was a bunch of musical stuff that just wasn’t going where I wanted it to go, hence the record is a massive musical left-turn for me. I’d pretty much spent my twenties ploughing this indie-pop furrow, and I was just done with it, totally done.

A switch flipped when I heard Frank Sinatra’s version of ‘London By Night’. I just thought, “What am I doing? Where is this stuff going?”. It suddenly didn’t feel right to be doing what I’d done for the past ten years, and I think at its core ‘Heart Map Rubric’ is me drawing this big, fuck-off line under my twenties, in every possible sense.”

normanrecords.com Sad bunch The Fiction Aisle wince the night away with a series of boldly sentimental indie pop tunes lit with the fiery guitars of Coldplay and Embrace plus the melodic delicacy of Death Cab and the Shins. This anthemic, twilit sound bridges that gap between towering post-Britpop Heart Map Republic and low-key rock, with hints of the band’s beloved jazz and prog. That big music.

propermusic.com Brighton’s own, and the latest in a long-line of projects from the mind of Mercury Prize nominated Electric Soft Parade frontman Thomas White, The Fiction Aisle bring together a fine assortment of Brighton’s best musicians to create a truly glorious sound. It’s epic, progressive pop of the highest level. The Fiction Aisle released their debut album, Heart Map Rubric, late in 2015 on Thomas’s own label imprint (Chord Orchard), garnering 6Music’s attention alongside a slew of glowing reviews for both the album and their live shows. Combining a love of classic song-writing, with hints of jazz and lounge, alongside schizophrenic nose-dives into the heavier territory explored by 70s prog rock, this unique group are not to be missed.

rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.co.uk The Fiction Aisle’s debut HEART MAP RUBRIC is a beautiful record, orchestral, moody, genuinely pretty arrangements and melodies, fans of the Lilac Time/Prefab Sprout/Trashcan Sinatras will like this. The low register vocals may remind one of Elbow as well… My favorite tunes after a couple listens – Sleep Tight, Love Come Save Me, Major Seventh, The Colour of Morning, Outskirts.

roots-and-branches.com A new 10-strong project from former Electric Soft Parade and Brakes singer Thomas White, this isn’t quite what you may expect from his past outfits. Out go the psychedelic colours and in comes shades of 40s jazz and lounge, with lush orchestrations of brass and strings, and whispery, soft crooning vocals (on Sleep Tight he recalls McCartney a la Fool On The Hill). Here the dreaminess of the bossa nova styled Each & Every One or Broadwayesque piano ballad The Colour of Morning sit alongside more cacophonous moments such as Major Seventh and What’s A Man To Do while New Year’s Day offers more folksy acoustic guitar and an eight minute The Sea Rolls On Forever and Outskirts suggest Lloyd Cole and early Bee Gees, respectively. A definite and audacious musical sea change, this may have old fans baffled and bemused, but, inspired by Sinatra’s recording of London By Night, it should find him a whole new audience among those whose CD collections include Alison Goldfrapp, Babybird and Edwyn Collins.

theargus.co.uk Part of that exploration came early on, when White was played Sinatra’s London By Night [from the rare album Sinatra Sings Great Songs From Great Britain] by Alex, who also drums on the Fiction Aisle album.

“It was one of those situations where I realised I had written myself into a corner with how I write,” says White.

“Writing on a laptop makes it so easy to map out arrangements. If you’re using a four-track or analogue equipment it’s much easier to end up with something a little bit more serpentine.”

The major inspiration was White deciding to de-tune the high e string on his guitar.

“I discovered this odd jazzy chord I had never used before and started experimenting with going to it from other chords,” he says. “It’s all over the record – on [album opener] Blue and The Sea Rolls On Forever.

“It was one of those breakthrough things – I’ve been playing guitar for 15 years and I’ve found a new chord.”

“It’s really heartening to see people in the band who have never really played in a group before. They started really nervous, but they are now really taking ownership of the songs as their baby.”

“This band has got to reflect how all over the shop I am in terms of what I listen to and what I want to play. I would like the group to evolve on each record quite radically.

“It’s really exciting – when I started this I thought it would just be me sat in my bedroom as usual, but it has turned into something completely different.”

theartsdesk.com This album is a gorgeous New Year surprise. Much of it is a delicious investigation of old-fashioned pre-rock songwriting, but done from the heart rather than for kitsch kicks. Sometimes this means it wanders into easy listening which, after all, was originally just swing generation musicians continuing in their own sweet way long after the world had followed The Beatles instead. Then again, there’s also something of The Beatles here too…

Heart Map Rubric mostly veers away from his psyche and indie side. It’s the first output from White’s new nine-piece collective, fired up by his rediscovery of Sinatra and the personal rollercoaster he’s been on since he came out as a gay man a few years ago. He seems to have taken a battering, with heartbreak writ large…

theartsdesk.com Overdue vinyl release for the debut from Electric Soft Parader Thomas White’s latest incarnation, which came out at the start of last year. Think Smiths-era Morrissey or Lloyd Cole writing a coming out album of heartache, but doing so via the elegance of pre-rock’n’roll songwriters, and a smidgeon of Robert Wyatt. It is, in other words, original and touching, lathered in strings in places. Arriving on two discs in lyric inner sleeves, it’s heart-on-sleeve stuff but not mopey and maudlin. White looks everything in the eye with a clarity that’s both moving and pop.