The Fiction Aisle is a new band, of sorts. If you’re Brightoner though, you might know them. Tom White of the Electric Soft Parade has always been busy, be it playing with Sparks, Patrick Wolf or his own solo efforts. He’s now sitting soft, musically. For all the thrashing we love as teenagers, Tom’s moved, big-time, into an orchestral Burt Bacharach-esque appreciation of lounge music in it’s finest, most stirring, form.
Having previously only teased out a couple of remixes, including one of British Sea Power’s Loving Animals, Blue, the Fiction Aisle’s debut offering – and let’s be clear this is a band, a 10 piece band no less – has the percussive soft salsa-shuffle of Sergio Mendes, the piano tinkles of New York’s early morning cocktail club performers and Tom’s voice croons like Robert Wyatt in a deeper baritone.
Being a 10-piece everything is here; a brass swell, rhythmically plucked guitars, lingering pianos. Yet whilst the band has more than enough capacity for bluster, this is a soft piece. The chorus shimmers… softly. Tom reflects on a love not quite strong enough to endure… softly and without malice or regret. It’s sublime.
Lounge music and the theatre of musicals are maybe niche genres when it comes to the average music fan’s repertoire, but they shouldn’t be. In many respects both are genres in desperate need of resurrection for music’s sake if nothing else, and The Fiction Aisle have the talent to turn an ember into a fire. The Fiction Aisle are a band at the start of an exciting journey, and Tom White a writer moving beyond being a proponent of the zeitgeist into a truly unique voice.