The Electric Soft Parade - The American Adventure
The American Adventure is the second album from Brighton four piece The Electric Soft Parade.
The Opening track ‘Things I’ve Done before’ was recently released as a very limited edition Single (the reason being, it was only printed on 7” Vinyl!). The album itself is much darker and rock influenced than ESP of old, but then just before the first minute the band slip back into old methods for a moment and the repeated listener feels right at home, this initial track is very catchy in a definite ESP style with its noticeable guitar riffs and distinctive vocals from brothers Alex and Tom.
The second track on the album ‘Bruxellisation’ is by far the best on the album, starting off with an excellent guitar melody, which calmly leads into the sombre vocals, back into that amazingly catchy melody and again back into the song, at this point, you get a bit off bass and the drums start to get louder as the song builds up, all the time with the guitar melody playing in the background to a climax which sounds vaguely floydian and then we return to the original guitar melody, as said defiantly the definitive track on the album.
The next track, ‘Lights Out’ is similar in style to a few tracks on the debut album, only faster, quite reminiscent of Radiohead of late as well. ‘The Wrongest thing in Town’ marks a point on the album where things start to get a little darker, and more acoustic, with long classical guitar solos, the song builds up to a pinnacle just before the end including more instruments (including piano) and fades out to the original bleakness. The next up is ‘Loose Yr Frown’ the most annoying track on the album, not for the song itself, but the use of “txt spk” in the track title, unnecessary in my opinion... but anyway, onto the part that counts, the song; Strikingly similar to the style of the last album, ‘Loose Yr Frown’ takes a lot of lyrics from the last album and uses them in a play on words style song, with its combination of Heavier guitars (than used to with the self styled indie style of ESP) and pop-esque vocals, ‘Loose Yr Frown’ is a high favourite on the album, only let down by the title.
A far cry from this is the title track ‘The American Adventure’ which is a slower track, with a lot of bass and very slow and drawn out lyrics, classical guitars and at one point, what sounds like the slow murder of a cello! It’s a welcome relief to get to the upbeat section about 5 minutes in, but it doesn’t help it too much as I believe this to be the worst track on the album despite being the title track and almost centre point of the album, but to me it seems to be more of a space filler to keep the album well above the 30 minute mark, but that’s a cynical outlook on it I suppose, as its totally a totally “Different” track than ESP fans are used to, and as they say if its not broken, don’t fix it. ‘Chaos’ is another desolate track, but sounding like a slower relation to ‘Sleep Alone’ or ‘Holes in the wall’ on the first album, its definitely in a classic ESP fashion, while slow it still fits the ‘mould’ and not totally out of the place like ‘The American Adventure’. The last track on the album, ‘Existing’ Is a piano/vocal duet almost, which rounds the album off nicely.
All in all, I’m slightly disappointed, firstly the album was too short in my opinion (only nine tracks!) and was spoilt ironically by the over long track ‘The American Adventure’ While I’m giving it an 8/10, in comparison the first album is 9.5/10, I was going to give it 7/10 and a lot would agree, but ‘Bruxellisation’ is just so good!