It's been more than a decade since the irresistible indie charm of ‘Empty At The End’ briefly made The Electric Soft Parade the next big thing.
It wasn't quite to be and, while brothers Alex and Thomas White have continued to put out music at infrequent intervals, fourth album ‘IDIOTS’ arrives with little fanfare. And yet, this might be their moment.
It’s a beautifully sunny, unashamedly melodic tour de force which pitches up somewhere between a fevered Beatles obsession and a well-loved pile of Go-Betweens records. Just as Teenage Fanclub possess the rare knack of sweetening their songs without making them sickly, ESP happily go through the gears every time, throwing out key changes and layered harmonies like they've got an expiry date.
Lyrically, the themes are well worn; but you have to wonder if this is part of the conscious aping of those who have inspired them. “The sun never shined on me until you came around,” may not be a new sentiment, but played out at the heart of a glistening chorus it can subdue the most miserly cynic.
Some records make you think, some records redefine whole genres. And some, like ‘IDIOTS’, just make you very happy.
Words: Gareth James
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Alex and Thomas reviewed June 17th's new singles for Clash - read their verdicts on John Legend, Lissie, Everything Everything and more here.
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