The opening song from the new Electric Soft Parade album sneaks in the line “And now it’s back to work / as if I never left”, but while it’s been seven years since No Need To Be Downhearted came out the White brothers never quite got around to leaving. Since then there’s been three Brakes albums, three solo albums from Thomas, and guest spots from both brothers in numerous bands. There’s been plenty of live dates too, most notably supporting Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds on their world tour in 2011, and playing a gig at the Haunt last year for the 10th Anniversary of Holes in the Wall.
At the end of 2011 a French label put out Lily on 7″, which we described as “the kind of melodic guitar pop that most indie bands would sell their grandmother to be able to write”, and then the band spent all of 2012 assembling an album full of tracks of the same high standard. Earlier this year they released the country tinged Brother You Must Walk Your Path Alone, which has barely left our stereo.
Next Monday sees the release of Idiots, Electric Soft Parade’s fourth long player. The thing that strikes you on first listen is that any of the album’s ten tracks could be singles; not only is Idiots very much a pop album but there isn’t a duff track on it. It’s a classic guitar pop sound that’s been sorely missing from the charts of late, which have been cluttered up with the likes of Kasabian’s testosterone soaked riffs or Ed Sheeran’s overly sensitive acoustic drivel. Where are the tunes? Where are the choruses you can sing along to?
Well, here they are. Summertime In My Heart is the optimism of the season distilled into song form. The Corner of Highdown and Montefiore is a brooding, reflective ballad with lush strings that you lose yourself in before you realise it’s got a bit epic. Title track Idiots draws on the lush seventies pop of ELO or Wings, and the infectiously catchy Mr Mitchell could have been penned by Ray Davies. One of Those Days makes me swoon with it’s gorgeousness, shuffling rhythms and close harmonies, and Welcome To The Weirdness has the best guitar solo that Brian May never wrote. Never again calms things down to finish with, the sweetest song about hangovers that’s ever been written.
Idiots is a fantastic album. It’s rammed with brilliant, sunny guitar pop tunes, and is a great comeback for the White brothers. It’s out on Monday 17th on Helium Records, and the launch is being put on by Melting Vinyl at the Green Door Store that day.