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?


The Fiction Aisle – limited download EP To coincide with our shows this week (see Facebook) we’ll be issuing a limited download EP featuring a new mix of Blue, along with remixes of the lead track by Acquaintance, JØTA and British Sea Power, available completely free from our Soundcloud page from 28/08/15. It is with great pleasure that we can also announce the upcoming release of our debut album proper, Heart Map Rubric, available digitally worldwide (with extremely limited edition hand-numbered gatefold digipaks available direct by mail order from Chord Orchard), 27/11/15. Pre-orders from late October…

Blue JØTA Remix Blue announces the arrival of his latest grouping, however, and the track is every bit as searingly sensitive as we’ve come to expect. Shaped by White’s dimmed lead vocal, the track is a nocturnal ode to self-inspection, a darkened unraveling that comes alive under a weighty backdrop of flourishing instrumentation which always treads one step behind the protagonist. The Fiction Aisle is a new band, of sorts. If you’re Brightoner though, you might know them. Tom White of the Electric Soft Parade has always been busy, be it playing with Sparks, Patrick Wolf or his own solo efforts. He’s now sitting soft, musically. For all the thrashing we love as teenagers, Tom’s moved, big-time, into an orchestral Burt Bacharach-esque appreciation of lounge music in it’s finest, most stirring, form.

Having previously only teased out a couple of remixes, including one of British Sea Power’s Loving Animals, Blue, the Fiction Aisle’s debut offering – and let’s be clear this is a band, a 10 piece band no less – has the percussive soft salsa-shuffle of Sergio Mendes, the piano tinkles of New York’s early morning cocktail club performers and Tom’s voice croons like Robert Wyatt in a deeper baritone.

Being a 10-piece everything is here; a brass swell, rhythmically plucked guitars, lingering pianos. Yet whilst the band has more than enough capacity for bluster, this is a soft piece. The chorus shimmers… softly. Tom reflects on a love not quite strong enough to endure… softly and without malice or regret. It’s sublime.

Lounge music and the theatre of musicals are maybe niche genres when it comes to the average music fan’s repertoire, but they shouldn’t be. In many respects both are genres in desperate need of resurrection for music’s sake if nothing else, and The Fiction Aisle have the talent to turn an ember into a fire. The Fiction Aisle are a band at the start of an exciting journey, and Tom White a writer moving beyond being a proponent of the zeitgeist into a truly unique voice.

The Fiction Aisle – New Single

The Fiction Aisle – New Single: Major Seventh / Each & Every One Debut AA-side single, released to coincide with Record Store Day 2015. Written by Thomas White. Recorded and mixed at Church Road Studios, Sept 2014 – March 2015. Thomas White: vocals, guitars, keys – Heather Urquhart: vocals – Louis Macgillivray: guitar – Adam Kidd: guitar – Alan Grice: keys – Craig Chapman: trumpet – Gemma WIlliams: clarinet – Holly Fitzgerald: clarinet – Jordan Duggie: bass – Alex White: drums, percussion. The Fiction Aisle FacebookChord Orchard Label

A Promise Kept seems to be also known as Major Seventh. And it is precisely The Fiction Aisle that interests us today on the occasion of a brand new single. Openly influenced by The Clientele and Broadcast or jazz luminaries like Chet Baker, Thomas White offers with A Promise Kept and Each & Every One two precious compositions arranged with the tact that is known to him, directing without blinking the nine musicians of his together pop. Another title, Blue, was unveiled last November. There’s a feel much akin to ‘Mars Audiac Quintet’ era Stereolab when listening to this Brighton combo’s Double A-side header “A Promise Kept”. The climb on this track is reminiscent of some of the music in James Bond’s ‘Moonraker’, especially during the assassination of Drax’s deadly weapon! I’m enjoying the outro of polished sax, which more than suits their wall of sound. Tight rhythms complement the brass section, with spells of what sounds like a xylophone. “Each & Every One” has more of a jazz influence to it. I like the lyrics as they relate to isolation and realism. Ry Cooder springs to mind with this offering and maybe even The James Taylor Quartet. I could imagine this going down well in The Bee’s Mouth on Western Road, so may have to venture to my old place of residence to catch them live at some point.

Q + A with Alex White at CMU

Brothers White

Q + A with Alex White at CMU – Click the link for a very long interview, here’s a few quotes:

Being brothers we were never really ‘apart’ as a group, and actually having most people think we’d split up, or weren’t doing any more records, was quite liberating in that we were able to work on upwards of a hundred songs for this new record and work our way through to the very best stuff at a pace we were comfortable with.

The songs were formed over a rather long period, some coming in a while back, but most probably came in an inspired burst of Tom’s writing in the last year or so. We had an initial meeting with Helium, the label that we are now with, in which Chris, the label boss and producer of the album, made the point to us that though there was some excellent stuff we had written, he wanted to get back together with us and make a ‘great’ record, a classic. With that thought in mind, Tom was inspired to go back to the drawing board and really push himself. During this period he wrote ‘Summertime In My Heart’ and several other of the bigger pop tunes on the record, responding directly to Chris’s desire for the ultimate pop record.

The actual work on the album started over a year ago, and gradually we worked through everything with a tooth comb until we had what we as a team deemed the right result. It really was like making a film or something, rather than just getting in a room and playing. It took the best part of a year to get right, and in my view it’s a perfect piece of work. Given the time spent on it, and the time away in between sessions to refocus, it’s been a privilege to get to work in this way, and to really make sure we had something we were proud of and that people would enjoy.

The natural disposition of the writing in the band has tended towards more pop based ideas and sonics, based on what we’ve been immersed in over the last few years. Always big pop fans, we decided to let this be our pop masterpiece!

Hopefully the sound is more refined and more ‘mature’; I don’t know, personally I hate all those words, it just makes the stuff sound dull. Actually I’m very proud of this record and I think it’s a genuinely great thing, which is more than I can say of any of our other records. That itself is an achievement in my view, when one can truly be happy with what one envisages and what one actually creates.

Across the album, I’d say there are feelings of love, of expression of one’s feelings, of discovery and reflection, of loss and all that brings, and mainly of total, unashamed honesty. There’s a lot of pretending in music in my view, and it’s a pleasure to sing lyrics that are totally from the heart and unapologetically straight and honest. We lost our mother to cancer a few years back and while it was a devastating time, I think she would be very proud to hear the words in these songs that relate to that experience. The raw expression of love and death that comes through in these songs is some of the truest emotion I’ve ever known people around me to be able to convey. It’s very humbling.

Frankly, as long as there’s an audience for it, and even if there isn’t, we’ll probably keep doing albums sporadically until we die or get sick of it, neither of which I can foresee with any clarity. I feel like we genuinely add something to the music scene that others cannot and it’s worth seeing where that takes us for a while longer yet.

Transcript: Electric Soft Parade on BBC 6 Music 17th April

Gideon Coe BBC 6 Music 17th April


So it’s 6 Music Breakfast and as you may be aware our Breakfast Show Record Of The Week is the new single from The Electric Soft Parade, Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone. During yesterdays programme there was much excitement towards the end as we waited for the arrival of Thomas and Alex from the band. It didn’t quite happen but they are via the power of being here on the Tuesday but actually appearing on the radio on the Wednesday here. How are you doing fellas?

A: Not bad. T: Perfect. A: It’s like having a time machine or something. T: It’s magic. A: It’s brilliant. G: It can be done you see, anything can be fixed. I won’t ask you about your journey here but that was one of the questions from our listeners. I think we should just gloss over your journey here and talk about your first album in six years and it’s a very welcome return. There was a hiatus and sometimes with a band when there’s a hiatus some people think that’s it, you’re not gonna come back… that was never the thought…

A: Hiatus always seems to be a code word doesn’t it. We’re brothers so we’re never really gonna break up in that sense unless we do it legally, I don’t know if you can do that, you can divorce your parents and stuff, can you divorce your sibling? I’ll look into it… T: Wow. G: That was a short comeback. A: Well yeah you know we’ll see what happens. We’ve been doing other things; Brakes and everything else that we’ve done. It just seemed like the right time I guess, we had the songs.

T: It’s kinda weird, I remember we did one last show promoting that record with Sparks – we supported Sparks at Islington Academy. I think we had it in our minds we’d take a little break… kind of just stuff kept happening, we didn’t have a label and stuff. It took for the songs to be there really, for everything to start snowballng again.

G: Did you do one of the Sparks shows at Islington in London where they did each album one after the other? 21 nights…

A: We did the second last one or something. I remember talking to them afterwards and they were just so zoned out, they could barely speak, just glazed over, “we’ve been in the same building for 3 weeks”. G: That was the plan, Brothers Mael. A: Well exactly guys. I think they had a different production every show and different band and things like this. It must’ve been such a headache. G: Charming gentlemen though. A: Amazing. T: Charming is the word. Very polite. Very very well-spoken. A: They’ve got this sort of vision of England in the 70’s when they first came here and they still act like that’s the game.

G: Not that we’re going to talk about Sparks all the time but when they arrived in England, they will always be reminded of it, one of the Top Of The Pops moments… This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us; striking, unnerving… A: Devastating. I must say briefly, just give Tom a little shout out here, Tom actually played guitar on This Town on Jonathan Ross’s show on tele. T: I did a bit of session work for Sparks.

G: Sparks aside, your return was also buoyed by some shows you did with Noel Gallagher. When did they happen. A: Indeed. That was end of 2011. G: Was this road testing the material… T: Essentially we were in a place where we were playing live again and I saw he was doing some shows. Hand on heart, I literally just texted him and said “give us a support slot” and we ended up doing the whole European Tour.

A: Fair play to Noel as well, a lot of people of that stature, the perception from the public is that they can just do what they like and get whoever they want on the bill and actually they don’t have that much to do with who’s on first and all the rest of it. We thought, good for his word, maybe we’ll get it, maybe we’ll get phased out along the way through that process. Actually he was good to his word and got us on the shows.

G: And these were shows with the traditional line up of the band, the studio line up? T: It’s kind of evolved over the years. There’s a core line up of four of us which has been solid since we broke up weirdly, it’s kind of evolved over the years. There’s been a lot of different members; we had Mathew Priest whom you know from Dodgy, he played with us for years. There’s been different people but we’ve had a solid line up…

A: Mr Twaites is our bass player, Matthew Twaites… T: He’s been with us the whole time. A: Since the very first thing. G: I did hear that the EP recorded a couple of years ago was the first time you’d taken that band into the studio. A: Yeah that’s right, exactly. We just did it in Brighton, just real cheap, just on our own really and this little French label were up for putting out seven inches and we just did this thing just around, ‘cos we were working at the time and then that then snowballed to Helium records that are putting out this new record. They heard that and heard that we were about and doing shows and everything and it just slowly and surely came from there.

G: What shall we say about Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone? T: There’s a very heavy influence of a particular song which I heard a few years ago now. A song called Elusive Butterfly by Bob Lind… his work was almost an epiphany, it was like half Tom Verlaine from Television, Richard Thompson, all that kinda stuff then with Nick Drake singing. An odd mix of stuff but it really kind of got me at the time. There’s a big influence of that and Belle And Sebastian. And also the idea of getting all this stuff in a two and a bit minute song. G: Which you managed more than well. We’ll hear it and talk some more with Thomas and with Alex. This is Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone…

G: There it is. T: As if by magic. G: It’s the Breakfast Show Record Of The Week, Electric Soft Parade and Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone which is a beautiful tune and you’ve mentioned the influences on it but it’s very much one of your records. It manages to be – it does contradict itself – it manages to be uplifting and yet quite a sad record to listen to as well. T: I think it’s quite misanthropic and it’s quite bitter in a way but it’s housed in a little chirpy, jazzy pop tune.

G: I haven’t mentioned the album title yet but the album from which it comes, the forthcoming LP, is called IDIOTS! A: With an exclamation mark. G: You have to say it like that don’t you. A: Oh you have to yes. T: It kind of demands a delivery of some magnitude. A: It’s shouting at you. All caps. G: IDIOTS! Why is it called that. A: I don’t know, we messed around with different titles and various things and tried to be serious for ages then just thought IDIOTS! It’s that self-deprecating kind of thing, that’s quite fun isn’t it, I dunno.

G: I wouldn’t trust anybody who hasn’t at some point or doesn’t regularly call themselves an idiot. A: For me it’s a bit like people who don’t like The Office. It’s like, well you are David Brent then. That’s my theory. You’ve got to be able to look at it and go, I’ve just totally done that a million times. I can behave like that sometimes, I’ve also got a blind spot and accept that about yourself. T: If you can’t admit that you can see some of yourself in Brent. A: You’ve gotta say you’re an idiot too… if you look at that and go, we’re idiots, you’re idiots, come on… let’s be idiots.

G: So with the title, did it come into the reckoning during the making of the record. A: That song is called Idiots already, the song Idiots, the title track was called that. It’s such a throwaway, where the lyric comes in in the chorus, it’s not like it’s the front bit of the chorus and it goes hey idiots…

T: A big thing for us is you have producers who purely involve themselves on a musical level but Chris Hughes and Mark Frith who made the record with us, there’s a constant dialogue about the nature of titles and how they define a record. Everyone involved in the record was quite equally involved in that and the way the record grew. There was no overriding concept for it.

G: The way the record ended up sounding, was that as you expected it to sound? T: And so much more. A: I mean some of the songs, the first track, that’s probably the third recording we did of it and that itself has been stripped to the bone and then rebuilt as the recording – really getting every single note to speak the maximum… G: That sounds like really hard work. A: Well it’s dull work actually in a way. You go in a studio and record for a week and you just record your songs and mix ’em, this whole momentum of doing it quickly, which can be great but with this we’ve really had a chance which a lot of groups don’t get to sit on this record, sit on every little stage of it… we’ve done our working week down in Bath with the guys then come back to Brighton, then maybe done couple of weeks off then another 5 days, all that sort of thing. You’ve got this time to sit and listen to it and go, you know what, I’ve listened to it in the car, in the kitchen etc and now I can hear what’s wrong with it. Whereas if you just do a record in 3 weeks you do the work and then 6 months later you realise the first track should be a b-side, that it’s rubbish or whatever – the one you’ve put in the bin should’ve been a single.

T: The pay off for me is listening to the record as a whole. G: Good stuff in the meantime upcoming show, Koko on Friday. IDIOTS! is out in June and the single Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone is available to download now. Thanks for dropping by fellas. A: Thanks so much for having us.

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