Friday, January 19, 2018

Sweetness And Light: A Few Words About The New Album From The Fiction Aisle (Electric Soft Parade, Brakes)

The Fiction Aisle is, more or less, Thomas White from Electric Soft Parade and Brakes. The band's music is superb, and in line with the sort of thing one heard on later Boo Radleys records, for an easy comparison point. The new album from The Fiction Aisle is called Jupiter, Florida and it's out today. I really can't stress enough what a wonderful listen this one was for me.

Tracks like "Gone Today" see White favor a kind of languid spaciousness in his sound that is inviting rather than indulgent, while the downright lovely "The End of the Affair" suggests those Aztec Camera records where Roddy Frame favored smooth production and sleek surfaces in his sound. "Sweetness and Light" percolates like the best sort of Britpop stuff that White clearly draws a lot of inspiration from even still, while the longer "Memory" is trippy and closer to what Spiritualized was doing at one point in the past. If Thomas White is using parts of the output of The Fiction Aisle to explore some interesting sonic corners, he's also clearly a strong songwriter and one who is interested in classic forms. Looking to predecessors as diverse as Lennon and Bacharach, White can pen a really strong hook, like on "Some Things Never Die", even as the final cut on the record, the epic "Will I Get Where I'm Going Before I'm Ready?", nearly drifts away even as it gently enchants with waves of the melody-line coming in like slow ripples from a distant ship on the horizon.

Jupiter, Florida was such a pleasant surprise to me that I am almost angry that I hadn't heard of this band so much earlier. The Fiction Aisle make beautiful and affecting music that both fits with the sort of Brit-rock I consumed some decades ago, even as it expands the genre in some interesting and unexpected ways.

Jupiter, Florida is out today. See the link below. More details on The Fiction Aisle via the band's official Facebook page.

[Photo: Uncredited image from the band's Facebook page]