Thursday, 21 January 2016

Clandestine Classic XLV - Sleep Alone

Holes In The Wall
The forty-fifth post in an occasional series that is intended to highlight songs that you might not have heard that I think are excellent - clandestine classics, if you will. Maybe they'll be by bands you've never heard of. Maybe they'll be by more familiar artists, but tracks that were squirelled away on b-sides, unpopular albums, radio sessions or music magazine cover-mounted CDs. Time will, undoubtedly, tell.

Wikipedia describes The Electric Soft Parade as an English psych pop band from Brighton. I don't really know what psych pop is supposed to be (for shame), so I'm glad to be able to find Brighton, at least. Lucky for us all that such definitions and genre pigeon-holing are irrelevant, in Clandestine Classic terms. All you need to know is that ESP formed around the turn of the century (yes, in Brighton), and that the nucleus of the band was/is/forever shall be brothers Alex and Thomas White. Brothers, eh? Might explain the excellent close vocal harmonies then.

Anyway, the band's first album, Holes In The Wall, was released in February 2002, to widespread critical acclaim. Not quite widespread enough though, as it only charted at #35. Still, I bought, and loved it. Today's Clandestine Classic, Sleep Alone, is the album highpoint for me, epitomising everything that is great about early ESP: those harmonies, a fragile melody, and lyrics, lyrics, lyrics...

This is what I say
When I can't say to you.
This is what I do
When I can't say to you.
Out of time, out of touch.
And on through the dark nights
We sleep alone,
As if all we know is true.

It's a fine, fine song to be alone to, to feel alone to, for whatever reason. It's a song I return to, often, and a song I always hope they will play live when I see them.

I don't want to say anything else really, am not in the right mood for it. You can pick up Holes In The Wall absurdly cheaply on Amazon. If you need convincing, here are a couple of embeds of today's classic, the album version and a live, acoustic recording on the beach. I know, I spoil you.


  1. it is a cracking song. I bought the album on the back of liking it but sadly, nothing was quite as good as this

    1. Snap! Think I'd heard this on a Q mag cover-mounted CD, bought the album on the strength of it and was a little disappointed. It's a good album but not great like this track.