Electric Soft Parade – No Need To Be Downhearted

The Brothers White return. After their lacklustre sophomore effort and a four year hiatus they’ve returned from other projects (both are in Brakes) and they’re sounding refreshed, refocused and full of the joys of Spring. Their impressive debut, way back in 2002, was a breath of fresh air. An intrinsically British band, combining the best of The Kinks and the Buzzcocks with a twist of Californian sunshine via The Beach Boys. Where they lost the plot on the follow up, The American Adventure, was to eskew this and develop a much more embellished and psychedelic sound which didn’t quite suit them. With No Need To Be Downhearted, they’re found a middle ground and have crafted some great sounding and polished indie-pop.

Like all good things, it starts slowly and builds. It begins with the title track (Part 1), which is a gentle piano led piece until the quiet drums and strings join in. A thoughtful song on growing up and how you have to learn to deal with disappointments. This then segues into the processed guitar-pop of Life In The Backseat which rushes through it’s three minutes, all chiming guitars and vocal harmonies, a gently uplifting anthem of optimism. The entire album follows this pattern, acres of jangly guitar pop that’s entwined with fuzzed up noise ring-fenced by passages of quiet reflection. Reminding me of The Kinks and their perverted take on pop music, Woken By A Kiss swirls between cranked up guitars and whimsical fair music whilst If That’s The Case, Then I Don’t Know has guitars and keyboards that sear through the hazy backdrop, creating one of the best pop songs I’ve heard in years. Then there’s the gentle, almost Badly Drawn Boy, groove of Shore Song / Surfacing which is all sunshine-tinged acoustic guitars before it descends into the sound of a thousand twinkling stars falling from the clear night sky. There’s not at bad moment on it, the record swings between these passages of slow and beautiful meandering’s and guitar charged pop anthems. Who’d have thought they had it in them!

An unlikely comeback then, but one that should be praised and cherished. A very British band that’s come back from the brink and rediscovered their lust for life and music. This could easily become the soundtrack to the promisingly sunny summer; the power pop anthems for the evenings and the blissed out come downs for the morning after.
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Links
Electric Soft Parade [
official site] [myspace]