Classic debut from band tipped in NME's Guitar Britain issue last October...
‘Holes In The Wall’ is one of the most impressive debut albums of 2002. Fact.
The Electric Soft Parade are a couple of sullen, posh kids from Brighton, but they
may just have saved British pop music.
Incredible, really, because ‘Holes In The Wall’ is one of the most monumentally
clueless records ever – it gives itself away every five seconds but somehow comes up
stinking of roses. Alex and Tom White love music a lot. More specifically, they are
totally in awe of a whole slew of negligible c-grade, 1990s, corporate-indie bands,
but in striving to emulate the likes of Geneva,
Air, Merz and
Six By Seven, they have accidentally transcended all of their idols to come up with a record which redefines British guitar music.
While the rest of Britain has been more than happy to completely erase the mere
concept of ‘indie’ from our collective memories in the face of an onslaught of American
tat, the Electric Soft Parade have held their odd belief that the post-Britpop comedown
was all that ever mattered. Still in their teens, the late 1990s is all that the Whites
know, and once you’ve joined them in that bizarre world where the release of ‘Urban Hymns’
marked the beginning of musical history, you’re ready to believe that this is the sound
of the empire striking back.
‘Start Again’ – the monolithic opening volley on ‘Holes In The Wall’ –
finds ESP artlessly bashing the epic button without
sounding like pompous Ashcroftian babboons. It’s a gargantuan piece of psychedelic pop theatre that
wheels off into the rampaging ‘Empty At The End’ –
like Radiohead‘s ‘Pablo Honey’ album
but good. Can they keep it up? Yes, they can.
From here on in, the hits just keep on coming. Even a nine-minute blow out on ‘Silent To
The Dark’ can’t entirely mask the fact that it’s a totally awesome tune,
‘This Given Line’ and ‘Biting The Souls Of My Feet’
accidentally resurrect the ghost of Syd Barrett-era
Pink Floyd, but no sooner do you think that
you’ve got them nailed than they’re off riding the Super Furry Animals‘
psychedelic chariot to Pluto with the oddly, low-key closer ‘Red Balloon For Me.’
If you’re one of those people who thought Supergrass‘
‘In It For The Money’ was one of the greatest albums of the modern age – you’re correct,
incidentally – then ‘Holes In The Wall’ marks the moment at which that particular
moment of genius finally met a sympathetic match.
It’s got melody, it’s got invention and it rocks like a beast.
This is the Electric Soft Parade. This is what they can do. You’re going to love it.