White Light Parade - Wake Up

Richard Wink 27/05/2009

Rating: 2/5

One of the cool things about White Light Parade is that they have a song that features in the vicariously violent video game Grand Theft Auto IV. I should quickly say that it isn't this song.

'Wake Up' is a patronising, simplistic call to arms. Loaded with clichéd observations “There's too much hate in this town / And it's just dragging us down”, White Light Parade harp on about the mundane, whilst at the same time trying to inject the kind of falsely optimistic positivity that bands like The King Blues are currently spouting. You can stomach the rhetoric if the music is inventive or enjoyable, hell Joe Strummer delivered a hell of lot of rubbish in his time, but The Clash had the tunes and they appeared to mean it, even when they sold their soul and chased the almighty dollar, they had a throbbing authenticity.

On 'Wake Up' the White Light Parade provide the driving guitars and the pounding rhythm section that should be essential ingredients for a quality rock song, but it all sounds so plain, and dreadfully hollow.

In recent years we've had a glut of these bands. Some have their moments; The Enemy for instance despite their faults released 'Away From Here' which even the staunchest of cynics couldn't argue wasn't a tune, but really you need to go beyond the blatant and write eloquently about small town life, put it in a clever way, people don't need the obvious stated because they live it, it's in front of their very eyes. Instead dress it up like Ray Davies, Jarvis Cocker or Alex Turner. Provide an adequate sense of detachment, a tangible escapism. Or alternatively provide a realistic lyrical storytelling of 'What's going on' like Billy Bragg has done.

Judging from the samples on their MySpace page, the bands debut album House of Commons will carry a similar clumsy message throughout, and though you can commend the band for being positive and encouraging salvation through music, White Light Parade don't strike me as potentially being a life changing band, their recent stunt of writing a state of the nation poem to Gordon Brown lacked sincerity and came across more as sixth form sloganeering. Disappointingly they are a band full of convictions, yet on 'Wake Up' they fail to deliver.