Muso’s Guide – 25th June 2013
By Rob Crozier
June 25, 2013
The current lack of sun could play havoc with the long awaited return of Electric Soft Parade. They’ve produced an album so immersed in a feel-good summer vibe that you can’t help but think that if anything could produce an appearance of the big yellow fella, then it’s their new album Idiots.
Their long-awaited return follows a 6-year silence from the band as they took a few years off touring and recording. They were enticed into support Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds on their European tour and a weekly residency in the Prince Albert pub in Brighton followed; for a few months they performed acoustic versions of their back catalogue. It inevitably reminded the brothers of what they’d been missing. They’re now back as a new five-piece band, and they’re revelling in the recording and touring process again.
Their sound ranges from a mixture of ELO and Divine Comedy via Belle and Sebastian. The album begins with ‘The Sun Never Sets Around Here’. Almost written for a British summer, it’s lyrically bright with light synth chords, wrapped around summer pop vocals narrating lovers searching for the sun. ‘Summertime in My Heart’ sees the brothers’ vocal harmonies attempt to produce a warmth akin to that summer feeling, with an uncomplicated, uplifting albeit slightly obvious tune.
The band’s new single ‘Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone’ brings with it a more intelligent lyrical agenda, with a more focused, complex structure. There’s still the sunny, carefree approach and the track remains upbeat; and this grabs the ear more than the first couple of tracks. It’s an obvious single choice with its summery guitar loops.
The album changes pace with ‘The Corner of Highdown and Montefiore’ with its gentle strings allowing White’s vocals to drift in. It’s a long-winding, slow track, and towards the end it starts to feels like the sun has already set. The title track continues in the same vein with more summer-laden, hazy, relaxed lyrics. Just as the album begins to sound rather samey, along comes the track ‘Mr Mitchell’, which has a wonderful, playful air to it. It’s lyrically cohesive and is at times reminiscent of Neil Hannon/Divine Comedy with its delivery.
Similarly, ‘One of Those Days’ adopts a familiar summer vibe, with gentle soft guitars and slightly hidden vocals. ‘Lily’ delivers a cautionary tale of the wild excesses of modern life. White delivers advice to Lily ‘to take herself to the nearest doctor’ amongst other things. ‘Welcome to the Weirdness’ provides the album with a different flavour – as if the band realise that the same summer feel within each track runs the risk of becoming tedious.
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