Live Review: Electric Soft Parade

2 May

The Albert, Wednesday, April 27 2011

Nine years ago Brighton’s Electric Soft Parade released their debut album, Holes In The Wall. It was indie pop perfection, nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and prompted Q magazine to name them the best new band in Britain.

Just twelve months later the follow-up, The American Adventure, was ridiculously dubbed a ‘prog monstrosity’ by one critic, and they soon parted company with their major label.

At the Albert tonight – the second of four monthly gigs to revisit their back catalogue – they play The American Adventure in full along with the 2006 EP The Human Body.

Lesser bands would have played a one-off ‘greatest hits’ set. The sell-out crowd would have missed a treat if they had.

The first song, The Things I’ve Done Before is a real toe-tapper while they rush through Lights Out like a band in the first flushes of youth. It’s a joyful riot of screeching guitars and clattering cymbals which serves to reinforce the fact that the crux of the band, brothers Tom and Alex White are both still under 30.

They are tight and powerful and throw in the odd bit of banter too. They cheekily tee-up Lose The Frown as ‘the single for the big label’, namely BMG, and the brothers playfully bicker over the counting-in to Headacheville – where the dreamy vocals are swiftly battered by an influx of distorted guitars.

If The American Adventure was released today, the likes of BBC6 Music would be all over it like a rash.

‘I never thought we’d make it this far’, sings Tom on the album’s final song, Existing. On this showing, they should have gone much further. Thankfully, they still have time on their side.


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