Live at Cockpit on Friday, 27th April 2007
Actress Hands have just released a split with the headlining band, having just toured with their fellow Brighton and Metway studio regulars British Sea Power. Joking with the crowd, the harmonising melodies and vocals from these Brighton blokes are upbeat and lovely for a sunny afternoon. Shame we're stood inside under a railway bridge.
It's not all sugary sweet; the guitars are heavily distorted and it is not uncommon for guitarist Matt Eaton to have a little Dinosaur Jr moment; if only he had more hair to swing around. The place is disgustingly empty; I fear that people here are on the guestlist of members of the other bands on tonight. The band appear not bothered in the slightest and are just here for a good time and to have a laugh. Judging by their poppy, catchy tunes they can afford to mess around.
The line-up stated a lone Chris T-T, who I have seen support Carter USM's Jim Bob on a couple of occasions. The guy is a comedy folk-style legend. Maybe not to those not in the know but to those who have caught his wide-eyed and manic-staring delivery reeling out home-truth lyrics will want more.
Tonight however is the turn of a full band, with the addition of three members on keyboard, bass and drums. The songs are the same, maybe the lyrics are drowned out somewhat by the full band sound, but the song structures are such that the tunes are catchy as hell not matter whether you can hear what is said or not.
Not necessarily a bad thing; one of T-T's string breaks and as it is being fixed we are treated to an acoustic regular in the form of the vocals-only 'M1 Song', a poem about a tree defending its life before it is cut down to make way for the Leeds to London road. The crowd have started to appear now and they gradually quieten down to hear the end of the song.
So although we do not get the instantly popular 'Eminen is Gay' and 'Drink Beer' it is nice to see the other side of Chris T-T and the addition of a band is like two performances in one from a very talented songwriter.
Boyish and fresh-faced, Electric Soft Parade stroll casually onstage and start with a long, winding instrumental with ghostly vocals sloshed over the top. Actress Hand's Eaton is giving a helping couple of hands on guitar, but it's Alex and Tom White that everyone's watching.
The new album tracks go down well, especially as new offering 'No Need to Be Downhearted' is a step back to the acclaimed 'Hole In the Wall' . The lads still show off their skills by swapping instruments.
I must say that I prefer their side project The Brakes; I'm more at ease with the punk side of them rather than the indie pop that we have here. The place is full however, and the crowd are loving the antics of the still-quite-young and multi-talented Brighton boys.