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Electric Soft Parade, The


Barcode: 5053760059554

21.00 £21.00

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18 years ago, Electric Soft Parade, centred around brothers Alex and Thomas White, were the latest hyped hope of indie kids and NME-type media. However, their might-have-been moment imploded when they moved too fast for their fans, rocketing off in wildly creative flourishes rather than sticking to a predictable formula. They – and associated break-away bands – have since produced a fascinating array of musical activity, often boasting an inventive yet old-fashioned feel for orchestration.

Their latest album, their fifth, is a change of direction. Written and sung by Alex, recorded and produced by Thomas, it’s a seven song concept piece, inspired very directly by the death of their mother. It is, then, a meditation on grief, and could have been a morose nose-dive. It is far from that. The music, while often melancholic and minor key, is given to almost symphonic explosions and lengthy instrumental codas.

It’s certainly heart-wrenching, with Alex displaying a richly poetic ability to nail the nature of bereavement, his voice hauntingly sad as he enunciates lines that skewer the way such loss places one at odds with the mundane details of everyday life.

The accompanying music is varied but always lush. “The Bargain” comes on somewhere between Pulp and burlesque Seventies glam pop, while the 12 minute “On Your Own” is an epic that churns its way from a steady piano-accompanied strum to a euphoric peak. The Whites successfully pull the listener into their world, tempering the strife and mental pain with persuasive musical counterpoints.

Stages at its core is a personal exposition of catharsis, set in the real world. As such, it’s one of the few fully conceived albums on its subject. Almost everyone goes through the loss of their parents, a seismic life event of the psyche, yet there’s little focused music dealing with it. Electric Soft Parade have made a stunning foray into seldom-explored territory.

Robot Pink coloured vinyl.

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Track Listings

1. Saturday
2. Never Mind
3. The Bargain
4. Left Behind
5. On Your Own
6. Roles Reversed
7. Fragments

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