B-sides: Happiness + Friends Of The Heroes
Organ Magazine Sophisticated pastoral indie-pop and an uplifting lead track from this year’s rather acclaimed No Need To Be Downhearted album. Electric Soft Parade back on top form. The interest here will focus on the Elliott Smith and Amy Linton covers to be found as b-sides.
Rant Magazine: One new song and two covers, their title track is probably their best on the EP. It sounds reminiscent of when guitar-pop was good. When it felt a wash of enjoyment to listen to.
Their cover of Elliott Smith’s (R.I.P) Happiness was a damn good job. It felt like listening to an Elliott Smith song, not just in chords and the words, but the mood of Elliott Smith was there, but there was something else as well that made you enjoy it on a different level. It wasn’t karaoke, it was the Electric Soft Parade performing an Elliott Smith song, where seemingly both artists were present. Their cover of Amy Linton’s Friends of the Heroes was almost dream-pop in it’s calming tempo and distant guitars.
There’s an air with their music that is very rarely present in modern guitar-pop. Modern guitar-pop is very immediate and punchy and there’s nothing behind the notes you’re hearing, and this record doesn’t fall in to that.
Visual Music Webzine (French) Happiness is simple as a b-side. Appropriate Ending is out on 26 November and brings a little happiness in our hearts in these early winter temperatures.
B-sides: Bodygrave (vinyl) Across The Universe (iTunes) Blue It Is (iTunes)
Alternative Nation This is a light and breezy 2 and a half minutes of breezy pop, perfect from a band who come from Brighton. It sounds like it was a track born from sitting on Brighton Beach watching the sun sinking slowly into the sea whilst the soft red light of the last rays of sunshine cannot fail to warm those left on the sands. This is The Beach Boys with a very British electro-pop sound blended in perfectly… The emotional and haunting Blue It Is may be worth tracking down rather than the single itself. It is a beautiful song.
Artrocker: “Electric Soft Parade make pleasant, dreamy single” would never make a newspaper headline – because it’s bleedin’ obvious that these Teenage Fanclub acolytes are going to make something pleasant and dreamy. But if you want something nice to doze to on a summer afternoon, at least you know who to turn to.
Atomic Duster 7/10: Phew, that’s a relief, it’s NOT a cover of the old Genesis single. In actual fact, it sounds more like Teenage Fanclub doing a version of The Supremes’ “Stop! In The Name Of Love” and is suitably lethargic. B-side “Blue It Is” comes over all classical at the beginning and then sounds for all the world like it belongs in the musical canon of Brian Wilson, or perhaps Scott Walker. Moody and atmospheric…
Beat Surrender 3 stars: The Electric Soft Parade are a band that have been criminally ignored for way too long and underrated amongst both music fans and journalists, while less talented but ultimately more fashionable, trendy bands seem to take all the column inches.
Fair play to the Brighton lads though they have kept going where others may have been tempted to throw the towel in. Thankfully their dedication is to our gain as they come back once more with a new album No Need To Be Downhearted gaining some great reviews.
All good albums need good singles and they deliver this with Misunderstanding, a slightly quirky three minute guitar pop song, with the odd slice of psychedelic whooziness thrown in amongst the Teenage Fanclub style harmonies. It’s good to have them back, so do your bit, buy the album and keep them interested.
Comfort Comes: score 9: “No Need To Be Downhearted” is easily one of the years best albums even still months after its release, I am finding more and more to fall in love with. “Misunderstanding” is a moment of breezy and sunshine pop that is in the middle of a record full of such emotion and feelings. There isn’t much else to tell you, pick up the single, pick up the album, the band are rejuvenated and this record is a triumph.
Glasswerk Electric Soft Parade have a really good sound. It’s the sort of music you’d put on if you were driving up the west coast of America on a beautiful summer evening in your convertible, for some reason.
It’s a crisp and harmonious recording with light drums and funky guitars… There is a dexterity and depth to the music which lends it a certain class. A large range of instruments are used to give Misunderstanding a grand and symphonic sound which would be great to see and hear live… In short, Misunderstanding has intelligence, a nostalgic sense of the song that suggests real talent in its creators.
Blue It Is, the second track from the release, is another quite lovely specimen with the same sort of afterparty acoustic vibe that Simon and Garfunkel used to generate so brilliantly.
icScotland ‘Blue it is’ accompanies this release and is actually a surprisingly darker song, very much in contrast to ‘Misunderstanding’. This song has Italian influences written all over it and wouldn’t be out of place in a modern day re-make of The Godfather. All in all, a good single release from The Electric Soft Parade, with two very different songs from a very diverse band.
Indie London Single Of The Week: 4.5 out of 5. Brighton’s Electric Soft Parade provide a timely reminder of why they were once considered the new kings of indie-influenced electro-pop. Misunderstanding is a shimmering, feelgood piece of songwriting that’s built around prog-laced hooks and an infectious sense of style. At two and a half minutes, it’s a breezy anthem in waiting that’s perfect for playing loud and free on a hot summer’s day. The vocal layering is, at times, reminiscent of Brian Wilson and co, while the laidback chorus is superbly delivered to ensure maximum satisfaction. The cute little central stop-start riff even flirts with Weezer’s Island In The Sun, or am I misunderstood? Nevertheless, it’s a welcome return to form for the Electric Soft Parade that ought to be embraced by a wide listener base.
Is This Music 4 stars: Thomas and Alex return with another slice of sweet melodious fun from their latest, and by far their best album, ‘No Need to be Downhearted’. It’s a two and half minute jaunt that bops along with glee whilst knowingly giving nods to Weezer and Teenage Fanclub on the way. Perfect for the summer months, there’s not one bit of fat on it, mainly due to the fact they’ve cut out the psychedelic break that resides on the album version. Bottom line; great song, great album, buy it!
Lick Online “Blue It Is”: On first listen to this haunting song, I wasn’t paying attention and found myself thinking, “Now why would a band who can write such stylish melancholy as this hide it away as track 2? It’s almost as good as “Breakfast” by The Associates”. Then I bothered to look at the sleeve and, of course, it is indeed a cover of a Billy MacKenzie song. Now that’s the sort of music that is going to set my musical world alight.
Music News 5 stars: A cracking song that is clean and clear with a searing 60’s influenced US west coast chorus that beautifully dominates. The opening chirpy guitar sets the tone for an ultra infectious slice of sunny jangly indie pop.
Electric Soft Parade have produced many glorious moments, with Misunderstanding hitting a very high mark indeed. So much so its on continuous loop while I’m tapping at the keys, and each time the chorus hits with fresh, affecting emotion.
The single comes with a cover of the late Billy MacKenzie’s heart wrenching Blue It Is, as performed at a tribute night for the ex Associates singer. I’ll say it again, a cracking song.
MusicOMH A lovely slice of prog-brushed soft rock designed for a summer evening on a comfortably pebbly beach. This is, of course, what Alex and Thomas White do best.
What they do second best is adore Billy MacKenzie, former lead singer of The Associates, and strive to keep his music in the public consciousness. They took part in a tribute concert to mark what would have been his 50th birthday (he committed suicide in 1997) earlier this year, and it is from here that many listeners will know Blue It Is, the MacKenzie track they have chosen to record as Misunderstanding’s B-side.
It’s on this track that ESP really shine. This is a truly beautiful interpretation of his song, the original version of which was released posthumously. The fact that ESP manage to do justice to a cover of a song by a singer whose vocal range was beyond even the comprehension of most acts completely overshadows the title track. Job done.
Stuff.tv Download Of The Week: Kids of the Britpop era, rejoice! Brighton’s ESP are keeping it alive and well.
One band that’s never felt the need to bow to mainstream pressure (and has stayed close to my heart as a result) is Brighton’s brotherly combo, The Electric Soft Parade. While some bands unashamedly switch styles and follow short-lived trends in pursuit of a hit, ESP have spent the last five years being shunned and ignored in favour of more fashionable bands with more headline grabbing potential, although not for the quality of their songs.
The White brothers’ latest EP, Misunderstanding, sees them hitting the guitar pop highs of their debut album, Holes In The Wall. It’s two parts Britpop with one part Weezer’s Island In the Sun and a sprinkling of Teenage Fanclub and if this can’t summon summer, nothing can.
Subba Cultcha: Jangly summer pop delivered with real passion, you can’t argue with class (especially the War Of The Worlds-like solo)
Teletext: Combining their early power-pop with the ballsy guitars and wild-eyed look of Brakes, it’s free-spirited joy. 8/10.
The Fugitive Motel 5.1 / 6: Misunderstanding is a perfectly crafted, pleasantly relaxed track. It’s clear not much has changed in the ESP camp, certainly no criticism as their sound has been missed by many in recent years. Flipside Blue It Is is a darker and more melancholy effort, an effective contrast to its A-side counterpart; the sort of song that wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack to an old black and white French film. Short but sweet, these two tracks will have you reaching for those old ESP albums and excitedly anticipating what’s to come.
The Last Broadcast After the excitement of their debut, ‘Holes In The Wall’, ESP never quite took off as much as they deserved to, but they have not been perturbed and continue to roll out music that is of a consistent quality, ever in search of a telling tune instead of concerning themselves with commercial approval.
‘Misunderstanding’ has many of the qualities that always made their slower songs so gratifying – the White brothers’ pleasantly soft vocals, the interplay of light drumming and crisp rocky guitar. Understatement is written through this like a stick of rock from their home city of Brighton, but the tune works its charms slowly and over a long period of time, seducing you until you are brought around.
The Line Of Best Fit Riding off the back of the critical acclaim that followed the release of Electric Soft Parade’s latest album No Need To Be Downhearted the brothers White release Misunderstanding. A two and a half minute slice of guitar led pop. These boys have always had the knack of writing a catchy hook, and they are in their absolute element here. Think Island In The Sun by Weezer mixed with a motown inspired melody and you’d be on the right track. Great stuff.
The Sun (click for scan) Rating ***1/2 – Shimmering guitars, downbeat vocals and a real highlight of the Brighton brother’s latest album, No Need To Be Downhearted.
B-side: Happy Hunting Ground
Record Of The Weekend on 6 Music (click for scan) 17-18 March 2007.
ESP won Steve Lamacq’s Rebel Playlist: Steve: “It’s not, in 3rd place, Alberta Cross, 14% of the vote. And in 2nd it was The Ponys… The Rebel Playlist Winner: This came out on top at a landslide victory for The Electric Soft Parade with 68 percent of the vote”
CMU Daily: Young Brighton band Electric Soft Parade first caught our ears with their post-Brit pop psychedelic rock in 2002 when they scored a couple of hits with Silent to the Dark II and Empty At The End. With If That’s The Case the band are back with a bang. It’s dominated by a sparkling organ sound and their trademark fuzzy guitars as well as boasting a marvellously catchy riff, and is backed with an interesting take on Sparks’ Happy Hunting Ground. The new tune will be followed by a third album – No Need To Be Downhearted – at the end of April.
Crud Magazine It’s nice to have something to fall back on, isn’t it. And thanks to the work Alex and Tom White put in early with their pleasing debut Holes In The Wall they have still got Electric Soft Parade for when indie supergroup du jour Brakes stops being funny… their new stuff, starting with the single If That’s The Case, Then I Don’t Know sounds to these ears like a bleeping Dandy Warhols / Talking Heads hybrid which is certainly no bad thing.
Fingertips Music At once squonky and lithe, the latest effort from the British brother duo the Electric Soft Parade features anthemic chords and resounding beats, scuffed up fetchingly with fuzzy guitars and electronic blips and boops. Add Alex (and Tom) White’s nicely vulnerable, Brit-poppy vocals and the whole manages to trump the sum of its parts – quite an accomplishment, as the parts themselves are pretty darned keen.
A casual know-how informs both the song structure and the production; we get a masterly mix of rhythm and melody, guitar and drum, busy-ness and spaciousness, loud and soft. The loud-soft thing is especially cool, since the White boys (Tom’s on drums) aren’t offering a standard sort of “here’s the soft part, here’s the loud part” approach as much as utilizing the dynamic range of sound throughout, much as a first-rate black and white photograph will display the blackest black, the whitest white, and many gradations of grey in between.
Another cool thing is the nifty coda: note at 4:02 how the song’s drive shifts gears, the beat moving to swinging triplets, before the drums pretty much disintegrate, electronically. Or something like that. The song will be found on the band’s next CD, No Need to Be Downhearted, their third full-length, scheduled for an April release on Better Looking Records.
Indie Blog Heaven If That’s The Case Then I Don’t Know has a killer, funky stomp, with a crash course in electro blips, and fuzzed out guitar riffs. The track sounds as if it’s been sung by Muse’s Matthew Bellamy on a sedative. That’s not to say it’s not good. It’s a track that won’t leave you for a while. Watch for the tricky, slowed down ending.
MOJO Playlist (click for scan) Amazing spacious pop-rock with ELO flourishes. Album, No Need To Be Downhearted, due late April.
NME (click for scan) Holy smoke. After moonlighting in Brakes, ESP are back with what they call an “indie-disco monster”. Groovier than ‘Golden Skans’ – put it down to the octopus-on-crack drumming and blessed with a tune reminiscent of Blur’s ‘Music Is My Radar’, this could be the feelgood hit of the summer.
One Week To Live (click for scan) 4.5/7 – If That’s The Case, Then I Don’t Know sees The Electric Soft Parade return with an anthemic, slightly discordant, scuzzy, dancefloor indie number. For some reason it sounds more English than their American-leaning debut… and that’s a good thing.
Sound Generator: The boys are back with a new single, If That’s The Case, Then I Don’t Know. Unlike Ash, TESP have moved with the times and come up with a superbly layered, melodic, fuzzy, potential indie hit.
The Sun (click for scan) Rating ***1/2 – Whirling organs, orchestrated soundscapes of spangly electro noises and an understated anthemic chorus. Indie rock of the highest order.
The Tripwire The Tripwire crew has been digging the new record, No Need To Be Downhearted, for quite some time now. It is one of the finer records to land on our desks this year, jam-packed with well-crafted indie pop songs that should give them the attention that they deserve here in the US. The video for the killer first single, If That’s The Case, Then I Don’t Know, shows the band taking part in a talent competition. We agree with the dude in the middle… ESP totally deserves a 10.
Undeveloped Photograph Harking back further than their Britpop birthright, this carries a dense Joy Division underlay. Powered by buzzsaw, discordant guitar and swelling keyboard, it manages to possess a genteel and serene Doves like constancy, while inadvertently falling over its subconsciously trippy and engrossing tune.
What’s On London (click for scan) They are back with some Talking Heads and Television, re-invented for today’s modern indie-disco groovers.
XFM Radio ESP were record of the weekend on XFM’s Weekend Breakfast show and also mentioned in their Blog: “If That’s The Case, Then I Don’t Know” (Truck) Makes me dance a LOT. I think ESP are one of the UK’s most under-rated bands. The NME called this an “indie disco monster”, and they’re not wrong. It’s another of these (currently prevalent) ones that makes me dance in a very shimmying, flouncy way. Just brilliant.
The single came 2nd on 6 Music’s Round Table Friday 9th March 2007
Johnny Dee, Andrew Collins and Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl joined Steve to discuss singles from Ash, Jack Penate, the LCD Soundsystem album and more!
S: It’s Electric Soft Parade. We were just trying to work out how many albums Electric Soft Parade have had out. Is it three, is it four? Help us out, I’m sure you can let us know in the chatroom. This one’s on Truck records, the new album, it’s called No Need To Be Downhearted. Taken from it, that’s the new single. Johnny Dee?
JD: I really liked that, there was bits of that that made me think ELO goes shoegaze kind of thing, you know. I don’t know how to describe that beautiful keyboard stanza in there but I like all the discordant little bits of guitar and stuff…
S: I’d like to say one thing, that’s the best bit of air keyboard I’ve seen in a long time… Ben, what did you think?
B: I was quite into that, I liked the sound of his voice. The chorus has got that serene sailing thing that Doves do quite well I thought; someone on the chatroom just mentioned Grandaddy as well which I think’s pretty astute. Yeah, best so far from me, I think.
S: Yeah? Andrew Collins.
AC: They’ve won the chatroom, they came up with Grandaddy, that was a brilliant reference, I saw that typed out and that’s what it is, which is good, for a band from Brighton to have a bit of an American influence. But they’ve kept their soul, I think. This is better than anything they’ve done for a long time.
S: I think weirdly they were freed up, when the two brothers went off and joined Brakes, or formed Brakes with Eamon from British Sea Power, I think that gave them the chance to just play and enjoy music again, it sounds like that’s what they’re doing on this.
Electric Soft Parade – yes, the chatroom, very positive, 7 out of 10 already in the chatroom. I don’t want to sway you obviously, Johnny Dee?
JD: I’m going eight.
S: Excellent. Ben?
B: I’ll give it a seven.
S: And Andrew?
A: I’m going eight.
S: This could be one of those songs that keeps growing on you the more you listen to it – I think you’re probably right, John Clarke in the chatroom, thank you very much. I think that probably puts Electric Soft Parade in the lead but still to come… (LCD Soundsystem won)
Lyrics — B-side: Why The Sale? By Actress Hands
Sounds XP Life In The Backseat is a blast of melodic guitar pop, with a touch of Guided By Voices at times. Flip it over for another Brighton band (Alex White is on guitar), Actress Hands. Why The Sale? sounds like different stages of Teenage Fanclub’s development combined: the sharp Gene Clark-inspired jangle pop of the Grand Prix album and the swirly, almost shoegazing, guitar patterns of Everything Flows. Both are special favourites so this hits the spot.
Fan review by electricsoftparade.org.uk
The last ESP vinyl I played came with a BMG logo, this is adorned with the nice Truck Records. Tom’s voice is very calming, self assured, determined… Like he IS finally captain of the ship, and it’s not sinking! “It could all be over and you’d never have known” interjects Alex. The song is a joint vocal effort between them with Tom on the verses and Alex on the chorus, their vocal styles complementing each other well.
Of course you want to figure out the lyrical meaning, but I think the title says it all. Forced into the Back Seat of an uncaring music industry, with so much talent and a determination to get their songs heard. What else could they do but wait and hope that one day they might get another chance. You know that Truck logo slowly turning in the center of the record means so much more than what’s gone before. “Hell I just want to be happy, but never thought I’d leave that life behind” sings Tom.
This record has an uplifting sense of melancholia (had to get that word in) resigned to the fact things will change one day. The song’s also a message to us all, to keep going no matter what. Almost accepting defeat while in the next breath rejecting it.
The track is punctuated by a driving beat, very Strokes-like musically (one reviewer writing about them recently almost apologised for making this reference) and sounds like nothing else they’ve released so far.
When Tom & Alex were on The Album Chart Show recently with Brakes, you could almost have closed your eyes at one point when it was just drums and guitar and imagined it was ESP up there. Almost. I appreciate Brakes but I also appreciate ESP, as songwriters, lyricists, musicians. Brakes might have a higher profile but ask any ESP fan why they love this band. Better still, play this record. And if you can’t, get hold of the new album early next year.
Ian Chambers First up we have The Electric Soft Parades offering ‘Life In The Back Seat’ – and it proves to be everything you could have hoped for, highlighting perfectly their wonderfully bastardised vision of pop music that they’ve been busy honing on the live circuit. What we’re treated to is a splendidly driving song – propelled along by quick-fire drumming, progressively choppy guitar chords, coupled with some clever complimentary keyboard melodies and electronic effects. Tom White’s voice is also becoming more and more self assured – in this instance he handles the verses while letting brother Alex take centre stage for the harmony laded chorus.
Like a joyously upbeat clash between Guided By Voices and Magoo, it sounds nothing like anything the band have done or released so far, and is proof again if needed that by constantly evolving and exploring the musical landscape The Soft Parade aren’t happy to simply plod along into musical mediocrity like so many others. Life in the back seat? Not for this lot anymore.
Flip things over and the fun continues thanks to ‘Why The Sale’ by the ever amazing Actress Hands – a lush slab of slightly jangly guitar pop, recalling a similar spirit to some of the C86 bands of the late 80’s. Starting off as a mid tempo guitar strum, as the song progresses, so do the guitars, getting louder and nicely distorted, before a Dinosaur Jr / My Bloody Valentine like rock-out-finale. Or perhaps the band put it better themselves? “Loud shoegazey pop coupled to jazzed out country rockisms”. Whatever it may be, it’s certainly impressive, and is what Actress Hands are all about.