Sibling bands are back in fashion; look no further than The White Stripes for evidence. But look beyond the gimmicks, the retro noise and the tedium to find a new band called The Electric Soft Parade.
The brothers White (Alex and Tom) have released their debut – and it makes much of the rest of guitar band fare around now sound amateur. The fact that they are brothers is entirely incidental.
Much of the album was recorded in their house, pictures of which are collaged in the sleeve, depicting influences as wide as Six By Seven to Super Furry Animals by the posters on their walls. Electric Soft Parade are far better than both.
There’s a delightful tendency on this album for the brothers to play with arrangements and develop strong, simple songs from already good foundations into at times creatures of monstrous, life-like quality.
The chorus melody of Empty At The End harks back to Buzzcocks‘ Everybody’s Happy Nowadays but introduces lots more elements for the ear to feast on, should it suddenly grow a mouth. Several songs explore territory trodden last year by the excellent South by melding traditional guitar work with digital effects and cavernous echoes.
Then there’s the extraordinary Silent To The Dark. Think Blur‘s You’re So Great – a Graham Coxon song – which melds into Supergrass, before saluting The Boo Radleys and then spices things up with some fun digital cuts and bloops, creating an eclectic, electronic soundscape that Air, South and Pulp in particular would have been proud of writing.
Blur (circa The Great Escape and Blur) and Supergrass sound like obvious influences in other places too and fans of both bands should take to Electric Soft Parade like ducks to water. Early Pulp fans may consider the music of the title track and wonder what it would have sounded like with Jarvis singing it. Fans of Jacques might also be intrigued.
What’s really fascinating about Holes In The Wall, however, is the feeling one gets that The Electric Soft Parade are only warming up. The summer festivals have a fascinating newcomer this year.