Alt Sounds – 11th June 2013
Following last months delectable, downbeat ‘Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone’, Thomas and Alex White turn up the volume this time, cartwheeling through verse after breezy verse before the chorus of the hugely catchy ‘Summertime In My Heart’ kicks out the jams.
Coming on like a hybrid of Hamburg-era Beatles and late-period Guided By Voices, the second single from The Electric Soft Parade’s imminent fourth long-player, ‘IDIOTS’, does all it can in three short minutes to summon the brightest, hottest sunshine sound you’ll hear this summer. Lord knows it ain’t happening outside.
“The title of the track refers to a more emotional sense of summertime, rather than the Great British one, or lack of,” says Thomas. “It’s basically about that first flush of love, when just holding someone’s hand makes you feel like you’re walking on air. We recorded it during a heatwave, out in the west country, so it’s hopefully imbued with as much unselfconscious optimism as humanly possible. I’d take dips in the studio pool while Al walked around the gardens strumming a guitar. Sunny vibes all round. This summer’s not been much cop so far, but we live in hope…”
It’s been a long six years since The Electric Soft Parade’s last record, 2007’s ‘No Need To Be Downhearted’, but they’ve not missed a step. “There’s not one overriding reason for the gap,” explains Thomas White, who with his brother Alex White makes up The Electric Soft Parade.
They’ve used the time wisely. There’s been solo albums and session work, and times when no music was happening at all – personal tragedy saw to that – but even then, life was experienced away from the endless album-tour-album cycle they knew so well, inspiration was sought. After recording music almost solidly from 1997 to 2009, the pair needed a break – the time and space to dream it all back up again, to say something new. As a result, IDIOTS is their best album yet, possessing an as-yet-unheard focus, the brothers’ distinctive ELO-via-The Everly Brothers blood harmonies gloriously intact, not so much as a note surplus to requirements. “We just wanted to pare everything down to its most essential parts,” says Alex. “Everything on the record has to be there, and anything that wasn’t needed went.”
It started with the 10th anniversary of their 2002 mercury nominated debut, Holes In The Wall. Worthy of celebration, the duo called in longstanding live band members Andrew Mitchell, Matthew Twaites and Damo Waters and booked a string of shows. A full European tour with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds followed. It reminded the brothers of what they’d been missing, and with a newly energised fanbase they decided it was time to turn the 100-strong batch of demos Thomas had been working on into something more concrete.
Having re-teamed with the producers of Holes In The Wall, Chris Hughes and Mark Frith, the band is set to release ‘Summertime In My Heart’, the second single to be taken from the album on Helium Records, which is released on 17th June. “Chris and Mark’s influence runs really deeply in us – they were the first producers we ever worked with,” says Thomas. “But this time around we know so much more than we did, too. We’re not little boys anymore. It feels like we’ve come home.” Jack Stovin
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