The Electric Soft Parade are masters of reinvention. If you trace your favourite artists there can be said to be two groups, those who peddle and stick to a sound you love (think Oasis, the Strokes, Abba, - for example) and those that constantly twist and turn your perceptions of them and push their own abilities as performers and writers, whilst still somehow never losing their own inimitable traits (think Robert Wyatt, The Flaming Lips, Super Furry Animals). With 'No Need To Be Downhearted' the Electric Soft Parade root themselves as firmly in the latter category.
Most of us know that Tom and Alex White are from Brighton, that they pretty much put Brighton on the music map and that they're tireless musicians, intent on breaking musical systems, formulas and public perceptions. Most of us also know that 2002 saw 'Holes In The Wall' (DB Records) released to great critical acclaim. Everyone loved it: the past and the future collided on one record, all the boxes were gloriously ticked, and the accolades (Q best new band award, Mercury Music Prize nomination) came rolling in.
In 2003 the White Brothers released 'The American Adventure' (SonyBMG). It was a further slice of futuristic rock, but this time recorded in analogue. It replaced the synthetic pop of its predecessor with the analogue growl of rawer recording techniques. It received further acclaim and again saw them tour extensively in the interim.
It's 2007 and it's happening again, the White Brothers are in further ascent, but this time in a different mode and solely on their own terms. Working with friends at Truck Records and fellow colleagues in the US at Better Looking Records, the music is rolling. The tail end of 2005 saw 'The Human Body' EP (Truck/BLR) released, and the critics loved it, but it was just a taster.
As Tom White himself states "What has made the whole experience different for us is that it wasn't recorded in a professional studio: there was no budget. I don't know if people will hear that in the album, but obviously we do and it's great - we've succeeded in appropriating all of the sounds and techniques you'd find in places like Abbey Road, but with an absolute minimum of money and resources." With their knowledge of recording equipment, this was the brothers' first real solo endeavor; every instrument, all the engineering and production was done by the brothers themselves, it's a DIY release in a very pure sense, though sonically and structurally it's anything but primitive.
From the soft opening tones of 'No Need To Be Down Hearted (Part 1)' through the fairy-tale narrative of 'Woken By A Kiss' to the piano rock of 'Cold World', there's a universe of sound here, all underpinned by the White Brothers endless harmonies and that feeling that their records somehow come from the future, even when they're paying homage to Americana or French Cinema, as in 'Come Back Inside.'
The unceasing energy of these boys shines through in all their endeavors: both continue to play with Eamon Hamilton and Marc Beatty in funktry-punk-disco supergroup Brakes whilst contributing to a number of other Brighton-based projects, too: Alex recording and playing live with noise-harmonists Actress Hands, Tom providing drums for instrumental hip-hop collective Restlesslist. And now, with a brand new album of their own, they're at it again, this time as space-age power-balladeers and digital terrorist-rockers. The world is still their oyster.
Official Bio by Jonathan Falcone
Current Line-Up: Thomas White - Vocals/Guitar, Alex White - Vocals/Guitar/Keyboards, Matthew Twaites - Bass/Keyboards, Mathew Priest - Drums
Auxilliary Members: Matt Eaton - Guitar, Phil Sumner - Cornet
Past Members: Joe Harling - Guitar, Stephen Large - Keyboards, Alan Grice - Keyboards, Stew-Can-Do - Keyboards/Guitar