Arista - 2003 - 36 minutes
Last year two teenage brothers from Brighton burst onto the indie rock scene with an infectious enthusiasm that only the most hardened of rock hacks could resist. 'Holes in the Wall' by The Electric Soft Parade - aka Alex and Tom White - was far from perfect as debut albums go but it had more than enough moments of melody and passion to make the listening massives sit up and take note of this young new talent. A Mercury Music Prize nomination catapulted it into the display shelves in HMV and the future looked good. Needless to say, The Electric Soft Parade's follow-up was eagerly awaited.
Sparser from the onset, with its almost plain white cover, 'The American Adventure' appears to have a more grown-up agenda. While 'Holes in the Wall' captured the testosterone-filled fun of a couple of grinning lads with guitars, the second album sees the boys setting their sights on something bigger, more serious. And they pull this off efficiently on the truly lovely 'Bruxellisation'.
However, the White brothers shoot themselves in the foot with the overblown prog monstrosity that is the title track. Long and meandering (though it does manage to escape from the sound swamp near the end), it's the kind of song that only a mother or devout PR man could love. The album's first single, 'Lose Yr Frown', is the best thing on offer, with a catchy chorus that trips off Alex's guitar with an upbeat ease. It's what the young band do best and they should remember this.
'The American Adventure' is nowhere as interesting as it thinks it is. In fact, it's pretty dull as adventures go. More like a trip to the supermarket than a Kerouac-style odyssey.
Tracklisting: Things I've Done Before - Bruxellisation - Lights Out - The Wrongest Thing in Town - Lose Yr Frown - The American Adventure - Chaos - Headacheville - Existing