Electric Soft Parade: The Human Body EP (U.S.) reviews

Reviews in alphabetical order by: American Songwriter, Amplifier Magazine, Aversion, Bullz Eye, Camerondeyhle Blog, Chimpomatic, Dagger Zine, Download.com, Electricsoftparade.org.uk, Filter Mini, Gimme Indie, I Heart Music, Illinois Entertainer, Indie Pages, ESP at MOG, MTV, Radio Free Silver Lake, Sentimentalist, Silent Uproar, Sound The Sirens, Still In Orbit, The Larry Page, The Tripwire, Tiny Mix Tapes, Torr Blog, Windswept Pacific, WOXY, WRFL, You Ain’t No Picasso.

Many reviews are no longer online but there are quotes below.

American Songwriter: U.K’s Electric Soft Parade erupts with prog-rock fervor on A Beating Heart; the first track from The Human Body EP, the band’s third release, and takes the listener through everything from piano pop (Cold World) and Elliot Smith-style melancholia (So Much Love) to edgy hard rock a la The Smashing Pumpkins (Kick in the Teeth). Made up of brothers Tom and Alex White, who play everything from drums and guitar to violin and glockenspiel, The Human Body EP reveals a band with outstanding maturity and originality. Having played with the likes of The Who, David Bowie and Oasis, ESP may be virtual unknowns in the U.S., but as they plan to record a full-length album this fall, sit on The Human Body EP for a while and adjust your seat.

Amplifier Magazine: When they first surfaced with Holes in the Wall in 2002, Thomas and Alex White (who essentially constitute ESP) were being likened to that other pair of Britpop siblings. Y’know, the Gallaghers… The follow-up American Adventure was somehow met with distinct indifference despite its burgeoning catholic approach. After a dispute with BMG over marketing and promotion directions, ESP jumped ship.

With a new label in tow, ESP came up with a stop-gap five-track EP which was released in the UK in late December. Now issued in the USA with a bonus track, The Human Body EP, carries on from where American Adventure left off, with dizzying eclectic fare that distinguishes ESP from many of their one-note modern rock peers on either side of the Atlantic.

The EP opens with “A Beating Heart,” a slightly atonal treatment of an epic 70s anthem, continues with the soft-pop bonanza that is “Cold World,” heightens the tension with the challenging “Stupid Mistake” and the fragile, atmospheric “Everybody Wants,” before pummeling all expectations with the oddly metallic “Kick In The Teeth” and the folky “So Much Love.” Apparently, The Human Body EP is just a teaser for album #3 due later this year. Can hardly wait.

Aversion: Thanks to the wonders of polymers, mad scientists and museum exhibitions, there’s a good chance you’ve been able to check out, or will soon be able to check out, an exhibition of plasticized corpses and organs. You’ll get a close-up, skin-off glimpse at the human body and its many components, and probably come home swearing to exercise more regularly. You’ll also probably come away realizing just how complicated and varied our various systems are, from the digestive tract to the nervous system, there’s a lot going on inside us.

What you won’t get from those exhibitions is an understanding of how each disparate system works together to form a cohesive whole, how the chemical and mechanical processes of the human body show just what a biological marvel it is. For that – or at least a metaphoric approximation of it – you’ll need to turn to The Electric Soft Parade.

The band’s The Human Body EP, the British act’s first Stateside release, presents seven tracks that are as dissimilar as bones and blood vessels. Despite those differences, they mesh, work together and create something bigger and better than the sum of their parts. ESP leans heavily toward the soft-and-gentle brand of indie pop that’ll make this EP be filed somewhere between Belle and Sebastian and Death Cab, it finds a breadth of sound that’s uncommon in the indie world these days. Cold World spruces up piano-banging pop generica with trimmings such as electric guitars and tight two-part harmonies. Everybody Wants is a glassy-eyed, atmospheric number built on vibraphone drones and coronet squawks, while Kick in the Teeth turns 180 degrees to plug in the punky guitars to hint at everyone from Mission of Burma to ESP members Alex and Thomas White’s other act, the Brakes. So Much Love, A Beating Heart & Stupid Mistake ratchet up the indie pop from acoustic to breezy to sizzling electric, respectively.

The Human Body is a varied release – some would even say uneven – but that’s it’s greatest strength. Just as human bodies are bones, nerves, organs and muscles instead of mere piles of simple flesh, The Human Body revels in its varied, complex structure.

Bullz Eye: Let us say this up front: all hail American independent label Better Looking Records for finally getting something by the Electric Soft Parade into release in the States. The band has been putting out quality material since debuting in 2002 with Holes in the Wall, but never before has any US label been bothered to get their stuff into our stores. The Human Body is the first new product from the band in three years, and it definitely whets the appetite for more than just these seven songs. All tracks are solid, but the pick to click is the piano pop of “Cold World,” which is – to use an expression popularized by music critic David Medsker – WillPop 101, a.k.a. a song so downright bouncy and filled with cheery harmonies that the only possible reason for disliking it is because it’s just too damned happy. The chiming “Stupid Mistake” and the majestically orchestral “Everybody Wants” are also highlights, as is “The Captain” (only available on the US version of the EP), which is reminiscent of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. When things end with the minute and fifty-three seconds of gentle swaying that is “So Much Love,” it’s far too soon. Hurry up with that full-length! ~Will Harris (06/29/06)

Camerondeyhle Blog: Thomas and Alex White have got me thinking. Often I hear a new album in the 10-14 song length range and my mind tends to start wondering “why is this album so long? Sure, they have some good numbers in here but 60 minutes of material?” That’s hard for anyone to pull off. And on an average day, who can find the time to properly dedicate their interest and attention for that full lengther? It is thinking like this that has lead me to a point in my music listening that I have really come to appreciate the EP. Of course there will always be need for full lengths but sometimes half as many songs just does the trick. Sure, The Electric Soft Parade is working on a new LP and some of these songs will probably be present in a new line-up, but this teaser or whatever it is makes for a most excellent listen. The Human Body EP has a beginning, a middle and an end. It has variety, lots of variety. A whole lot of variety, ok. Crisp sound and proper production. Like a full-length, it has energetic “up” moments and introspective “down” moments. My point being, I wouldn’t mind it if more albums came my way in EP format.

Chimpomatic The Electric Soft Parade were filed in my mind alongside Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Cooper Temple Clause for some reason – which was not a good spot. I think a 2003 Q Compilation / Rant may be to blame.

I’ve since done some vague research, and the fact that Brakes is a side project from these guys and British Sea Power’s ex-keyboardist is of mixed surprise. British Sea Power are dissapointing, Brakes are great. This EP goes some way to reposition Electric Soft Parade somewhere in between, with a great opening sound for the track A Beating Heart. Thumping drums build up nicely with mathematical sound, semi-mysterious lyrics and a nice keyboard. They can certainly play a nice bassy groove, and would probably have a good live sound… must remember to bother to see them sometime. Maybe they could support Brakes. The Captain and Kick In The Teeth also stand out, but no track quite hits the right finale… mainly as they tend to leave the rock behind and take a short cut to noodle town.

The songs all have a tendency to veer a bit to close to 70’s Genesis or 10CC in places, but with a bit of self-control and a stripped down production they could certainly surprise me. In the current climate of major labels wanting 70’s modish sounds from the likes of Arctic Monkeys, there’s certainly some space for 70’s prog sounds from the likes of these guys. Although as Jello Biafra says “I like short songs”

Dagger Zine: Have heard of this bunch before, read a few reviews (I think a positive one in MOJO) and then it dropped into my po box and it’s a dandy ! The band, who hail from the UK, and is basically the work of two brothers, Thomas and Alex White, mix all sorts of styles into one enjoyable 7 song ep. The opening “A Beating Heart” sounds a bit Grandaddy-ish while the 2nd song, “Cold World”, is an upbeat piano led tune (think Ben Folds). They then delve a bit into Brit-pop on “Stupid Mistake” and on “The Captain” (the U.S. bonus track) they slow things down a touch and drive the car all over the place, occasionally sounding prog, but I still liked it (and I don’t like most prog rock). Where this band goes from here is anyone’s guess but I will keep following (and listening)

Download.com Editors review: We’ll skip all the pop singer meets obscure rock band in unlikely location sort of summaries — Brighton’s ESP are simply chippy tunesmiths who know what’s good about Britpop (for starters, the inimitable harmonies) and care enough to give it the scuffing it now needs.

Electricsoftparade.org.uk Fan Review: If you’re used to putting the Brakes on, be prepared. In true Electric Soft Parade style, one song on The Human Body EP is 7 minutes long. With one foot in the American Adventure’s territory whilst at the same time leaving it far behind (but not far enough for some reviewers I should think)

After the fun they’ve had with Brakes, the melancholy you once fell in love with is back and you’re glad. This is what you’ve missed the last few years. This is why you’ve got so annoyed reading about bands you don’t care about in the NME or having to watch them on tv knowing your favourite band is so much better. And it doesn’t matter it’s only you that thinks so.

Knowing the long, often fruitless, wait to release their new songs adds to the effect playing this EP for the first time has on you.

On US bonus track The Captain: It’s like The (later) Beatles crossed with Nirvana. Classic ESP with lots of harmonies alternating between quieter vocal sections that become gradually more rocking…

Standout track is definitely Cold World for it’s sheer beauty (vocally and lyrically) If reviewers are in any way offended by it, they must be jealous because they didn’t write it. It’s more Paul McCartney than The Beatles, and although John Lennon would’ve slated this if Paul wrote it, that’d only be because he was jealous too.

Recent live reviews have included Beatles references (“the best tunes since Lennon & Mc Cartney”) I always knew they could write songs but I was actually blown away by Cold World. If you didn’t know it was the Electric Soft Parade, you’d have to ask who you were listening to. I’m not sure I’d have known and I’ve been listening to them for over 3 years. To say their sound has matured is an understatement.

I wanna get rid of this feeling
I wanna be a part of everything
Like the way it all should be

Cos I’ve been living in a cold world
The kind that has itself wrapped around you
Fumbling for some kind of love

And in the middle of the night you’ll worry about it and it’ll never go away
You understand it all and that is way much more than you should ever have known
I will wait I will hope and pray that you’ll be there

You gotta part with all the bad stuff
I gotta say it does you no favours
Fumbling for some kind of love

Cos I’ve been living in a cold world
The kind that has itself curled around you
Fumbling for some kind of love

The very last track So Much Love is totally acoustic apart from some strings and is the most beautiful song of the EP. They sing like angels (there’s no other way of saying it) Did the Beatles ever sing this well? As a long time Beatles fan even I’m not sure. I don’t think there’s ever been two vocalists to beat the ESP for harmonies. Also the sentiment of the song is pure inspiration. They could have filled the whole EP with cynical lyrics after their (not so) wonderful experience at the hands of the record industry but instead leave us with a moment of optimism. We need tunes like this to brighten the cold world we live in.

So much love could drag you down
Burn a hole in you crease you like a frown
So much love could set you free
If free is what you think you oughta be…
So much love will waste away
Split your life in two eat into your days
So much love could set you free
If free is what you think you oughta be…

On title track, A Beating Heart, they truly rock out two thirds of the way through and release their frustrations (and ours!) Lyrically it could be about the politics of war (and how one man is making all the decisions regardless of what anyone else thinks) But that’s just one interpretation.

What starts as make believe
Becomes a plan of action
The world is not suprised to hear
That it is happening without them
And at the center of it all
A beating heart
A human body
A foot in the past

Stupid Mistake portrays shattered illusions almost with relief – “Could’ve been different, should’ve been so perfect, I was so young, but I’m much younger now”.

The seven minute track Everybody Wants is a slow love poem. The moment you play the EP you realise it’s really a mini album and this is a classic album track. At the extreme end of the scale to the pure QOTSA rock of Kick In The Teeth; they refuse to stick to one musical style just so they can be packaged for mass consumption.

There’s a panic sweeping and whether right or wrong
It’s high time we stopped believing and got our own gang going on
So if you live in the city, be sure to find yourself some loving
I’m told it’s what they come here for, a little piece of mind a little f*****
And that’s what you’ll get, that’s what you’ll get…

And that’s what you’ll get, a kick in the teeth and a bullet in the head will see you off to bed just fine

So if you’re living the good life just count your lucky stars
That you’re not one of the millions who ain’t
So take a look at what you became, you’ve poisoned yourself a cry for help
You may never see things clear again until you’ve stared into the eyes of the devil himself…

Electric Soft Parade finally made the music they want to make on a decent indie label. I think they should send a copy of this EP to their old record company just to remind them what they’ve lost.

Filter Mini: Dylan plugs in. Hendrix drops Electric Ladyland. Amps are going up to 11 these days. Isn’t rock music supposed to be both loud and electric? But Electric Soft Parade is every bit as paradoxical as the name implies. The band clearly lives a duel existence: ESP is brothers Tom and Alex White, who are also full-time members of British Buzz band Brakes. Both White bands are off to a running start, but Tom insists that ESP is their first priority (preempting any Ben Gibbard complex) Tom also says ESP is a pop band, not an indie act, thank you very much. Semantics aside, the new The Human Body EP, their first official release in the U.S. (following two previous U.K. full-lengths) is full of enough jangly keys and gentle melodies to stress that “bringing the noise” doesn’t always mean it’s got to be ear-splitting.

Gimme Indie Cold World: ESP are usually known for their form of so called electric dance rock, but this time they really approach Indie Pop in the most wonderful way.

I Heart Music: If Electric Soft Parade are known at all, it’s for one of two things: either the fact that they were briefly the NME-appointed Next Big Things (circa 2002’s Holes In The Wall), or that the band’s two members are, along with a member of British Sea Power, part of a more recent NME-appointee, Brakes.

Of course, as The Human Body EP shows, they should be known for a lot more… or, at the very least, known. Their sound isn’t particularly distinctive; essentially, they play fairly straightforward acoustic rock (see “Cold World” for a perfect example of that), and on songs like “Stupid Mistake” and “Kick In The Teeth” they’ve added some electric guitar to the mix and amped up their sound a little, showing that they’re not completely averse to rocking out.

But what Electric Soft Parade lack in distinction, they make up for in simply sounding good. They’re not going to challenge you or shake your notions of what a rock band means, but with The Human Body EP they should be able to provide people with a few (albeit somewhat fleeting) moments of enjoyment.

Illinois Entertainer Chicagoland’s Free Music Monthly. Former Mercury Prize nominees Electric Soft Parade finally make their U.S. debut with this pounding EP. Nominated alongside The Coral, The Streets, and eventual winner Ms. Dynamite in 2002, the band seemed to represent the newest branch of post-OK Computer U.K. rock. But instead of concentrating on the ethereal cooing of Coldplay and their ilk, ESP tried to integrate prog tendencies into conventional pop hooks. Continuing in that vein in preparations for their third album, Human Body alternately crushes and soars, whether on the interlocking “A Beating Heart” or winged closer “So Much Love.” Its intense core, “Everybody Wants,” hints at the band’s range, a dramatic string arrangement implicating their record collections in Doves, latter Pulp, and even Billy Corgan at his most indulgent.

Indie Pages (click link to read it all) The songs on this mini-lp (‘EP’ is underselling it a bit) display a variety of sounds, from the Grandaddy-covering-Sonic Youth style of the opening “A Beating Heart” (a very busy tune, which sounds more like three songs pieced together – but still coming in at about three minutes!) to the upbeat Todd Rundgren/Ben Folds-ish piano-led “Cold World” to the long and Spiritualized-esque “Everybody Wants”… I look forward to hearing the band’s forthcoming third full-length (and I’ll definitely have to go back and find their first two, as well!). MTQ=6/7

ESP at MOG: has a fan review… Oh Electric Soft Parade, how I love you. It’s too bad that barely anyone in America has even heard of this band. The fact that their first two albums (Holes In The Wall, The American Adventure) have yet to be released in the US might have something to do with it. But even that’s no excuse, since they finally do have a record out here, and it’s their best work to date. It’s called The Human Body EP. Really more of a mini-album than your typical EP, it’s unquestionably one of my favorite records this year. Beautiful melodies, fuzzy guitars, excellent vocals. I challenge you to listen to “Cold World”, a poppy Strokes-ish tune, and not immediately love it. Then there’s the variety of songs, goes from the slow building “Everybody Wants” to the badass “Kick In The Teeth”, which channels some Queens of the Stone Age. All in all, an amazing record, gets my highest possible recommendation. Their third full length will be out in 2007.

MTV Mercury Prize-nominated brothers the Electric Soft Parade deliver The Human Body EP — with a bonus track that didn’t appear on the U.K. edition.

Radio Free Silver Lake Dedicated to covering LA’s fantastic independent music scene… and beyond.

ESP has assembled a strong batch of well-produced, well-studied pop/rock tunes in The Human Body EP. A band that wears its ambition, and its influences, on its sleeve, their sound makes it no secret they want to be BIG. Originally released in the U.K. last year, the U.S. release gets an extra psychedelic workout, The Captain. Standouts include Cold Word, the epic Everybody Wants, and Kick In The Teeth (which has a riff that must’ve been raided from Josh Homme’s footlocker)

Sentimentalist: “Brighton’s ESP are as inherently English as The Beatles… and they continually explore the perfect balance between guitar-pop and expansive orchestrated arrangements”

Silent Uproar Comprised of brothers Thomas and Alex White of Brighton, The Electric Soft Parade sport a sense of urgency and mystery in The Human Body EP powered by that brand of crafty British pop-rock that’s always so addicting. The majority of the EP was recorded at their home with an 8-track and the result is rather enchanting.

The appeal of the music lies partly in its parallel values of variety and unity. From quasi-epic builds to carefree organ-pop to weighty rockers, a sense of contemplative wistfulness prevails that really ties the work together.

This contemplation is passed on to the listener, who is likely to find him or herself looking within. Music that makes you reflect on your own situation: a worthy goal so often missed. And not only is introspection achieved, it’s achieved with smooth vocals and interesting, accessible songwriting.

Without putting too much stake into the reading of metaphors, The Human Body EP is comprised of its soft parts and its biting parts, its thinking parts and its feeling parts. Like the enduring mystery of the human composition, The Electric Soft Parade present a worthy shadow of its musical counterpart.

Sound The Sirens: “…the lush, beautiful music enveloping those hushed vocals”

Still In Orbit The White brothers have never been happy peppy campers and a quick glance at the titles, Cold World, Stupid Mistake, Kick in the Teeth, indicates an exploration of familiar morose territory. But the lyrics suggest there’s something else going on. On Cold World, ESP sings “I wanna get rid of this feeling/I want to be a part of everything” and discover “at the centre of it all, a beating heart”. The human body is a fragile thing, skin and teeth and muscles and heart; but it’s capable of love and violence and stupidity. So Much Love suggests that we have a choice. Music-wise, ESP has moved from the intimate indie-sound of Holes in the Wall and continues from the sonic explorations of The American Adventure. Thankfully, their ear for melody continues to be in evidence. Looking forward to the next ESP release. Hopefully, it’ll be a full-length album.

The Larry Page With the same kind of bright attitude as Ben Folds Five, The Electric Soft Parade crafts piano pop songs for the indie crowd on these two tracks from their recently released The Human Body EP.

The Tripwire After making us wait nearly half a year for its domestic release, the Electric Soft Parade is finally releasing their latest in North America. The Human Body EP, which includes one US-only bonus track, is getting love from the states via Better Looking Records, the label that brought us Goldrush last year. My introduction to Electric Soft Parade was actually when Thomas and Alex White joined up for the spastic side-project Brakes. This supergroup, comprised of Eamon formerly from British Sea Power, Marc Beatty from Tenderfoot, and of course the brothers White, gave us the great album Give Blood last year. I then went backwards, seeking out music from ESP, which definitely did not disappoint.

So now we have the new EP, kicking off with the darkness of “A Beating Heart.” The steady pounding of the drums sound sort of, yes, like a beating heart. The beat combined with some maddening monotone vocals lead to a piano fueled instrumental break, giving the EP quite the cinematic start.

The brothers White definitely have a tough time sticking to one musical style, although this is perhaps a part of why I am drawn to their records. This stylistic fluctuation pops up as we go from the bombastic opener into the Paul McCartney-flavored pop gem “Cold World.” The catchy, sunny melody is slightly reminiscent of the earlier songs from Ben Folds’ career. It totally made me want to throw on the debut Ben Folds Five album and listen to “Jackson Cannery” or “Underground.”

“Everybody Wants” is a remarkably epic song, beginning simply with acoustic guitar and vocals, then slowly joined by flutes and what I believe is a cello. At nearly two minutes in, horns and drums send the song soaring into the stratosphere. ESP continues to build up this song, swelling up into pop equivalent of the climax of a really cool film soundtrack. A patient listener is definitely rewarded on this song.

Skipping ahead to the bonus material, “Kick In The Teeth” rocks like a track from Queens Of The Stone Age, with big, angry guitars giving way to a solid pop melody. This is the formula that made Songs For The Deaf so damn good. The Human Body EP is an eclectic mix of songs stemming from a hodgepodge of influences, but this it totally a part of its charm. In my world of ADD music listening, sometimes it is nice seeing a band flex their creative muscles to offer up a very diverse yet solid release. This is a nice warm up for their full-length out later this year.

Kick In The Teeth is featured on the Tripwire Podcast Click link for tracklisting and download (MP3 or MP4 format) It’s approx 30 mb’s.

Tiny Mix Tapes Easy as it is to hide the pedigree of a bald-faced imitator with a retro combover and/or psychedelic plugs, Electric Soft Parade are more comfortable with themselves and their sound than umpteen bands of the umpteenth rock “revival.” Their career smeared somewhat by limited availability of their albums in the U.S. and other riff-raff, ESP transcend their past to prove you can dig The Beatles and tune into Sun Dial without making a little-kid-in-a-smokejacket ass of yourself. Alex and Tom White don’t care if you’re listening, but if you are, they want to be ready and randy.

Their savvy distillation of atmospherics and indie rock don’t immediately graft themselves to your ear, and that’s the best part; give Electric Soft Parade a few spins and their resilience will reel you in and have you flopping on a cold floor. What’s more, seven substantial EP tracks is a treat on line with finding two prizes in a crackerjack box. Seeing as each song offers a unique shade to its color wheel, The Human Body EP plays out like a flesh-y skeleton diagram of how to smelt the perfect short-player.

Note hushed, Elliott Smith-ish closer “So Much Love,” torqued down a notch for maximum shutting-up-shop finality. Heed opening track “A Beating Heart” bursting through the door with the immediacy of a (good) Doves record and slipping into the hallway for a heady buildup and keyboard segue into a wonderfully gooey chorus of, “There’s not one thing/ I’d do it all again.” Prop your feet up on your desk and cue “Everybody Wants” next; its even-keeled, summer-day-drive trumpet lines and thick strings will turn your next road trip into a celebration. Then stick around for “Cold World,” a delicious graft of Village Green’s bopping bass rhythm, an uptempo Kingsbury Manx chorus, and glowing jangle guitar that will remind you more of The Strokes than you want to admit in a snobby indie review. F*** it.

The glockenspiel and strings of its mid-section, at track two no less, close the case: The Human Body is one of the best releases of the year, EP or otherwise, and hopefully a sign Electric Soft Parade will get a fair shake in the U.S. and beyond. Kudos to Better Looking Records for, in the words of my favorite tambourine man Joel Gion, “usher[ing] this s*** in.” Lest young people forget rock ‘n’ roll can be so immediate, this cadaver should be dissected by high school students and singled out for independent study by suits in shady government buildings. Awareness is everything, folks…

Torr Blog Out in the U.S. on Tues May 9th. Here’s the decent stuff that’s out in the U.S. The Electric Soft Parade – The Human Body EP [A welcome return! Includes a bonus track]

Windswept Pacific: From the introduction of delicate mashing piano and serene doo-wop vocals emerges “Cold World” from Electric Soft Parade. This up-beat, bouncy jingle with its driving pulse and jabbing guitars could nearly be mistaken for saccharine but for its love-torn lyricist. Spin this one and be prepared to get your shimmy on.

WOXY: Here’s another batch of new releases we’ve recently added to the chart. Let us introduce you to: The Electric Soft Parade, The Human Body EP (Better Looking) After great reviews of their debut CD, Holes In The Wall, and not so great reviews of their follow-up, The American Adventure, this 7-song EP is actually the band’s American debut. Showing a little more punch (perhaps influenced by their busman’s holiday as half of Brakes), the White brothers rebound with a nifty set of Britpop that’s a nice return to form.

WRFL: Radio station on the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington.

A near-perfect EP. This Brighton-based group explores a lot of territory and does it (more importantly) well. Everything from indie-pop to orchestral arrangements to straight-up rockers reminiscent of the 90’s (the 1990’s). These songs are carefully plotted and fully realized — never hollow or shallow. Even the poppy tunes are sincere.

You Ain’t No Picasso Dear WRFL PR Director Nick Kidd, Thanks for writing your review of The Electric Soft Parade’s “The Human Body” EP on WRFL’s site. I love it. Yay pop music! (NOTE: Don’t let the scary cover fool you, it’s a cute, happy song that I must suggest you all sample)

Cold World: Ben Kweller and Oasis co-writing music for a broadway musical? Ben Folds maturing and scoring a Woody Allen movie? How about just good, solid pop music. The Electric Soft Parade flex their musical chops on this one and prove they can tackle classic pop just as well as the electro-dance-rock that got them attention on Holes In The Wall (seriously, check out “There’s A Silence” on their Myspace page – someone replace the Arctic Monkeys with this band)

You Ain’t No Picasso Top EPs of 2006 (So Far) Another EP that I first heard thanks to WRFL. Man, what would I do without that station? “The Human Body EP” was apparently a bit of a departure for The Electric Soft Parade, but I didn’t notice. I mean, “Cold World” was my first exposure to the band. And what an experience that was. It’s half piano-pop and and half melody-driven vocal performance. But the EP as a whole has more than enough variety to please just about everyone out there. Guitars fight with piano and vocals for your attention, but in the end it’s the listener who emerges as the winner. After all, with something this good, how could you not?