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Electric Soft Parade - No Need To Be Downhearted Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.75
Lyrics 7.75
Production 8.75
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.75
Reviewer Tilt 8.75
Final Verdict: 85%
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Electric Soft Parade - No Need To Be Downhearted

Reviewed by: Susan Frances (07/17/07)
Electric Soft Parade - No Need To Be Downhearted
Record label: Better Looking Records
Release date: April 24, 2007

Electric Soft Parade which was formed by the brothers Tom and Alex White and joined by bass player Matt Twaites and drummer Matt Priest, have released their fourth album No Need To Be Downhearted on Better Looking Records. The quartet who call Brighton, England home have brought in some synth-pop vibrations into their indie folk rock currents which bring them closer in sound to the Klaxons than to indie rockers like Phantom Planet.

The new album has catchy hooks sewn into their guitar effects that resemble Hundred Year Storm’s lush keyboard flutters. It’s new territory for ESP whose previous discs Hole In The Wall in 2002, An American Adventure in 2003, and The Human Body EP in 2005, focused on producing thin melodies using Tom’s folksy guitar playing and Alex’s keyboard trills. The new album has more sparks and intricacies that embellish the melodies.

The album commences with the tuneful piano and vocal melody for “No Need To Be Downhearted (Part 1)” and then breaks into shimmering synth rock landscapes and electro-pop vestiges with tracks like “Life In The Back Seat” and “If That’s The Case Then I Don’t Know” transcribing a Doves aesthetics and Brit-pop frequencies. Selections like “Woken By A Kiss” and “Cold World” demonstrate ESP’s inclinations for Oasis’ loose rock atmospherics and Keane’s musicianship for plush harmonies and melodic transitions. There are numbers with a vintage rock feel like “Have You Ever Felt Like It’s Too Late” and “Misunderstanding” which are stocked with a contemporary feel comparable to The Blue Van and The Wallflowers. The soft pop psychedelics on tracks like “Shore Song” and “Secrets” have a likeness to The Decemberists and Voxtrot, and the country flange in the comfy soft rock surfs on “Come Back Inside” and “Appropriate Ending” are reminiscent of The Redwalls and Carbon Leaf.

The album ends almost like it began with somber piano spreads and a soft vocalese along the melody dispatching an Emily Haines-like resonance for “No Need To Be Downhearted (Part 2).” Electric Soft Parade’s latest release is music that is designed to be enjoyed. Their atmospherics are melodic and their songs penetrate the listener’s senses similarly to bands like Bloc Party and Keane. ESP describes their music on this album as “lush” sounding and it definitely is with all the pomp and provocation that electro-pop, acoustic rock, and Brit-pop have when they’re brought together.
 
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