The Electric Soft Parade – No Need To Be Downhearted

It makes me feel small and insignificant. 

It makes me feel small and insignificant.


I love living near the coast. I’m not the type of person who’ll spend hours sunbathing on a towel, waiting for the wind to pick up and turn me into a piece of sandpaper, but I love larking around in the water. I like playing footie on the beach and have been known to throw Frisbees, play cricket and partake in other such beach oriented sports as kite flying and bikini watching, particularly the latter. I’ve also frequented many an ice cream stall, a large number of beach bars and the occasional amusement arcade too. The seaside, as it is called in the UK, is a great place to hang out but there’s more to the coast than just a bit of sand, water and a chocolate flake in your ice cream. The coast has soul. Even the bland, man-made, runway like coastline of Holland has soul. For starters, the dunes are the closest thing you’ll get to a hill round these parts so by default that makes it almost scenic. Second, it has the same special quality that all coastlines have, and that’s the ability to make you feel small and insignificant.


All of us want to leave a mark on this world. All of us want, deep down, to feel like your life means something, has some purpose. Even if you travel a lot, you get used to your own space, your own little piece of the universe. You have a place you call home, a group of friends and acquaintances to interact with in order to make yourself feel comfortable and important. In your own world, you’re King (or Queen), you mean something. But if you go to the coast and spend a few minutes just looking out to sea, you get hit with the idea of this gigantic world out there beyond the horizon. A world that you’re not a part of and one that is barely aware of your existence. If the coastline you’re standing at is particularly dramatic, (cliffs, jagged rock formations, that kind of thing) then you’ll also become aware of just how insignificant you are and how beautiful the world around you is. Once you realise that it took a gazillion years for the sea to carve out something as beautiful as the cliffs you’re standing on, you’ll come to accept that, no matter how hard you try, the mark you leave on this Earth will only be temporary. It can be a shocking and yet heartening experience.


Still, there’s no need to be downhearted, as ESP so kindly remind us, because even a temporary mark can be a beautiful thing and no matter how small your impact, that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy. Think of it this way, every single wave makes the coastline beautiful. Every single wave makes a little change and together that results in something extraordinary. Ok, I’m going to stop all this now before I start sounding like a fucking self help book or something, but if you know where The Electric Soft Parade come from then you’ll probably have an idea as to why I started talking about all this. What you won’t understand, until you’ve given this album a listen, is how much of what I’ve said relates to the music.


No Need To Be Downhearted has absolutely floored me. It makes me feel small and insignificant. To say this album has epic scope would be an understatement. Even Rick Wakeman would feel threatened by the scope of this, but unlike his prog nonsense, this never ever disappears up it’s own arse. No Need To Be Downhearted isn’t the sound of a band showing off, it’s the sound of a beautiful new world. The closest thing I can relate this too is The Flaming Lips’ The Soft Bulletin. This is THAT good! I don’t want to go into detail about what each track sounds like and what they’re made up of. I just want you to trust me. This is as beautiful as any coastline you can think of. You’d be a fool to ignore it.


Words : Damian Leslie