After making us wait nearly half a year for its domestic release, the Electric Soft Parade is finally releasing their latest in North America. The Human Body EP, which includes one US-only bonus track, is getting love from the states via Better Looking Records, the label that brought us Goldrush last year.
My introduction to Electric Soft Parade was actually when Thomas and Alex White joined up for the spastic side-project Brakes. This supergroup, comprised of Eamon formerly from British Sea Power, Marc Beaty from Tenderfoot, and of course the brothers White, gave us the great album Give Blood last year. I then went backwards, seeking out music from ESP, which definitely did not disappoint.
So now we have the new EP, kicking off with the darkness of “A Beating Heart.” The steady pounding of the drums sound sort of, yes, like a beating heart. The beat combined with some maddening monotone vocals lead to a piano fueled instrumental break, giving the EP quite the cinematic start.
The brothers White definitely have a tough time sticking to one musical style, although this is perhaps a part of why I am drawn to their records. This stylistic fluctuation pops up as we go from the bombastic opener into the Paul McCartney-flavored pop gem “Cold World.” The catchy, sunny melody is slightly reminiscent of the earlier songs from Ben Folds’ career. It totally made me want to throw on the debut Ben Folds Five album and listen to “Jackson Cannery” or “Underground.”
“Everybody Wants” is a remarkably epic song, beginning simply with acoustic guitar and vocals, then slowly joined by flutes and what I believe is a cello. At nearly two minutes in, horns and drums send the song soaring into the stratosphere. ESP continues to build up this song, swelling up into pop equivalent of the climax of a really cool film soundtrack. A patient listener is definitely rewarded on this song.
Skipping ahead to the bonus material, “Kick In The Teeth” rocks like a track from Queens Of The Stone Age, with big, angry guitars giving way to a solid pop melody. This is the formula that made Songs For The Deaf so damn good. The Human Body EP is an eclectic mix of songs stemming from a hodgepodge of influences, but this it totally a part of its charm. In my world of ADD music listening, sometimes it is nice seeing a band flex their creative muscles to offer up a very diverse yet solid release. This is a nice warm up for their full-length out later this year.