The Electric Soft Parade - No Need to Be Downhearted (Cover Artwork)

The Electric Soft Parade

No Need to Be Downhearted (2007)

Better Looking / EastWest

Electric Soft Parade, led by the brothers Tom and Alex White, have awakened new vibrations in their music scores with their fourth release No Need to Be Downhearted. Joined by bass player Matt Twaites and drummer Matt Priest, the quartet who call Brighton, England home have revitalized their indie folk rock sound that shares acoustic properties with the Redwalls and inflamed it in Brit-pop and synth rock patinas.

Their new album has some Beatle-esque fundamentals in their scores. But with more electro-pop salience and defined hooks, Electric Soft Parade is on the road to Bloc Party's bounty of guitar effects and Test Your Reflux's lush keyboard flutters. It's new terrain for ESP whose previous discs Hole in the Wall in 2002, An American Adventure in 2003, and The Human Body EP in 2005, zoomed in on Tom and Alex's vocals and concentrated on producing spare melodies using Tom's guitar playing and Alex's keyboard skills. The new album has more fireworks, panache, and memorable moments that stick in the listener's mind with a Radiohead instinct for polishing up the tune.

The album commences with the tuneful piano and vocal melody for "No Need to Be Downhearted (Part 1)" which impresses indentations along the melodic slides and reels to relate expressions in the vocals and the keys to match. The album breaks into glittering synth rock frequencies and electro-pop vistas with tracks like "Life in the Back Seat" and "If That's The Case Then I Don't Know" transcribing a Doves-component esthetics and Brit-pop vibrations. 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 thrust like "Have You Ever Felt Like It's Too Late" and "Misunderstanding" which are stacked with contemporary conditioners comparable to the Blue Van and the Wallflowers. The soft pop psychedelics on tracks like "Shore Song" and "Secrets" are lit by ardent acoustics liken 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 vocals that make droplets along the melody dispatching an Emily Haines-like liturgy 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 in a way that bands like Bloc Party and Keane have infiltrated audiences. 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.