Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The big catch-up 4: Electric Soft Parade

Truck Festival is 10 this year. What started off as a tiny festival has stayed fairly true to its DIY roots, despite becoming hugely popular (to the extent where it joins Glastonbury as being one of the very few festivals that sell out before the line-up is announced). What’s perhaps less well-known is that Truck also operate a record label, called naturally enough, Truck Records.

Which brings me nicely to The Electric Soft Parade. I’m glad Truck have signed them up for their latest album, because many others may not have. ESP are a classic example of what happens when a band becomes unfashionable. Not ‘becomes crap’ mind, because they clearly haven’t. Just unfashionable. Cast your mind back a few years, to just before the Brighton band had to add ‘Electric’ to their name (after being threatened by a Doors tribute band!) and just afterwards. Their stock was higher then. Their 2002 album Holes in the Wall was well received and even nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. So naturally they were snapped up by a major label for their second album The American Adventure. Now they’re back on an indie, and have recently released their third full-length effort No Need to be Downhearted (is that a self-motivating-against-the-odds statement?) to a complete lack of hype or media attention.

Maybe it’s because they don’t trade in spiky guitars, electro bleeps or earnest stadium indie. No, it’s all fairly straightforward, honest, melodic indie rock, and I don’t mean for that to damn them by faint praise. Sure, they do use synths on this album, but there’s nothing arch about them. Nothing to get scenesters’ vision turned away from Camden or East London. I’m not going to wax lyrical about the record because I know it’s not going to be in my top albums of the year. But I do really quite like it, albeit in a kinda low-key way. It's not about stand-out tracks or killer tunes - it's more of a overall feel, a cohesive whole. It accompanied my on my iPod on the way home tonight, and its warm, fuzzy riffs, pleasing melodies, sweet harmonies and echoes of other favourite bands like Teenage Fanclub made the journey so much more satisfactory. Sometimes that’s the sort of thing that I need from my music, and in this case, Electric Soft Parade are just the ticket.

Download: Electric Soft Parade – If That's The Case, Then I Don't Know
Download: Electric Soft Parade – Come Back Inside

Buy No Need to be Downhearted.

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