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The Wedding Present

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    The Wedding Present

    seamonsters george best peel sessions take fountain bizarro

    George Best ( 1988 )
    Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft / What Did Your Last Servant Die Of? / Don't Be So Hard / A Million Miles / All This And More / Getting Nowhere Fast / My Favourite Dress / Shatner / Something And Nothing / It's What You Want That Matters / Give My Love To Kevin / Anyone Can Make A Mistake / You Can't Moan Can You? / All About Eve

    Based in Leeds, David Lewis Gedge ( Singing, guitars ) and Peter Solowka ( Guitars, Ukranien father ) formed The Wedding Present in 1984, signing to small indie label Reception records. The band have been firm favourites of Radio One DJ John Peel from the very start, appearing on his show numerous times. There is definitely a Punk DIY ethos permeating this project. Reception Records was actually the groups own label, none of the musicians were especially talented with their instruments, but they created a distinctive sound right from the word go. The 'simple' thrash and scratch of David Gedge's guitar work added to the ringing and super-fast guitar of Pete Solowka, and combined well. There's the matter of the singing voice and the lyrics. The vocals have absolutely no range, half-singing really, but combined with lyrics such as these "Tell me why / should I be upset / Someone i've just met / Better sort this out / before I say something / I'll regret...." all taken in a half mumbling, slightly nervous sounding yet defiantly northern English voice just does something to me. What does it do? It's human, it's real life relationships without sentimentality. A reflection of life that provides comfort to many a lonely, unlucky in love listener. And besides, the music sounds cool. I mean, check this out, the opening song is called 'Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft', and it's a wonderful story. It's sad, it's funny, it's combined with ultra melodic yet strident thrashing and ringing guitars. David Gedge whistles at a certain point, and everything becomes an impossible triumph. 'What Did Your Last Servant Die Of?' is both a glorious lyric and song title, and a song with a brilliantly distinctive guitar introduction. The vocals come in, a series of wonderfully bitter-sweet lyrics that make me smile.

    There isn't a huge amount of musical variety on this debut album, which is the main complaint, actually. The songs are all pretty similar on the face of it, some are better than others, but none are less than at least a little enjoyable. 'A Million Miles' is a firm favourite in our house. The guitars ring with melody, the lyrics are deadly romantic and hopelessly lost. "It all became worthwhile / when you returned my smile...... / Oh, don't be worried about your friend / I think she left sometime around ten..... / You're not like / Anyone / I've ever met...." - apologies to David Gedge for cutting up his lyrics slightly, but I couldn't make out every word, purely from listening to the diction. Half-mumbled vocals? Yes, sir! But, it adds something, it really does. Half buried words, then suddenly a gloriously striking and heartbreakingly line comes out at you and your eyes open. And the music is fantastic, for music played so simply. Other highlights include 'Getting Nowhere Fast', a super fast explosion of guitars, vocals and drumming that's hugely entertaining. 'Shatner' celebrates in song William Shatner, and 'My Favourite Dress' is the highest of all highpoints on a debut full of enjoyable highpoints. Sigh. After 'My Favourite Dress' the album tails away a little - the monotonous sound of the music, with very little variation in tempo becoming a little tiring. I don't want to be too critical though. Really, 'George Best' is just too much of a good thing, and I mean that. "Oh, pardon me for breathing", sings Mr Gedge through the lyrically enjoyable 'Something And Nothing', and there you are. Oh, by the way. The CD Reissue offers nine bonus tracks, the pick of which is 'Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now?', a glorious fantastic song that reminds me of The Smiths in places.

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    Readers Comments

    Rob Durkin rob_durkin@yahoo.co.uk
    Actually this song's about domestic violence. Probably the most imaginative song ever written about it as well. "Wear something bright and turn away/ Imagine girls behaving in that way/ Why don't you pack your bags and leave/ Look here's another bruise I didn't see/ You can't say it doesn't really matter/ This isn't TV, he isn't William Shatner" Funny as well as moving. Genius

    Nige Edge nigel.edgerton@virgin.net
    I can't believe you wrote a comprehensive review about the album George Best without even mentioning Anyone Can Make A Mistake. I agree with you that 'there isn't a huge amount of musical variety' and the lyrics on ACMAM aren't David's most eloquent so maybe that's what makes the tripping jangly and abrasive guitar sounds blend so uniquely together at a time when the album does seem to run out of puff. Just wanted to say ACMAM is one of my Weddoes favourites!

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    Tommy 8 ( 1988 )
    Go Out And Get Em Boy! / Everything's Spoiled Again / Once More / At The Edge Of The Sea / Living And Learning / This Boy Can Wait / You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends / Felicity / What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted? / Never Said / Every Mother's Son / My Favourite Dress

    Early singles and radio sessions combine to form the second Wedding Present album. So, not really a 'proper' album then, and the bulk of the material here pre-dates 'George Best' and really isn't as good as 'George Best', although moments to savour are certainly present. 'Go Out And Get Em Boy' has a melodic ringing guitar pattern to open, harsh thrashy guitars coming in, fast guitars and fast drums and such a nervous, anxious energy. David Gedge sings and breaks your heart with the lyrics, the ones which you can make out anyway. The guitar of Peter Solowka really is hugely enjoyable and after this album the group signed a deal with a major record label, RCA records. Their first release for their new label was an album of Ukrainian folk songs, done in Ukrainian folk style and sung in Ukrainian. How's that for pleasing your new label with a commercial project, ha!? I love that, but I don't have the album. Somebody send it to me, please. Anyway, back to 'Tommy'. A shining gem of a highlight arrives song three with the human and lost lonely romance of 'Once More'. "And does your heart begin to fail / As the moment draws closer", and David Gedge sings in such a way, such an angry pissed off way - that it just reaches me. The moment of choice in the song is when he sings the songs chorus, softly and tenderly, pleadingly. It's a wonder to behold, and brings tears to my eyes. Some of the songs here bring tears to my ears as well, so generic sounding they are, but we forgive them. There aren't that many songs like that to spoil the whole.

    'At The Edge Of The Sea' is sweet and shining with melody and lyrics, 'This Boy Can Wait' becomes another nervy sounding romantic plea and declaration - a story, a snapshot of two people at a certain moment in time. 'Felicity' opens with feedback, half lost sounding drums. "Whoa, whoa!" go the opening vocals, nonsense vocals and sounds, but everything becomes very very happy. You can sing deliriously along to the songs chorus, shouting out 'Felicity' at the top of your voice dancing around the room. Nervous, anxious energy. If you are pissed off or angry, lost in romance or heartbroken - The Wedding Present have a solution. Don't go off and listen to Metallica or something, thinking the aggression alone will see you through. David Gedge and The Wedding Present will carry you through, causing you to nod your head in agreement before bursting out laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. The John Peel session version of 'My Favourite Dress' is fucking brilliant, by the way. I hope you've heard of The Wedding Present. If not, hear this.

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    Bizarro 8 ( 1989 )
    Brassneck / Crushed / No / Thanks / Kennedy / What Have I Said Now? / Granadaland / Bewitched / Take Me! / Be Honest

    For their second album proper, we see The Wedding Present move into Sonic Youth territory, whilst retaining the David Gedge heart-in-throat lyrical style. Yet apart from one song in particular which raises the entire project easily up an entire point, this isn't an album that improves upon their debut. If you were listening to John Peel circa 1989, you'll know the 'one song' of which I speak incidentally - so more of that later. In addition, a remixed single version of 'Brassneck' ( remixed by Steve Albini ) almost threatened to render the entire 'Bizarro' album redundant, within months of it coming out. The remixed 'Brassneck' ( available as a bonus track on the new re-master ) was a storming, punchy and powerful statement, a thrilling ride. The album version lacks the same punch, the album as a whole lacks the same powerful Rock sound, although they do appear to be trying. The production is the problem, weedy where there should be all bass and powerhouse drums. Having said that, the drums are speedy and fairly impressive, just not in actual sound. Same comments apply to the bass sounds. But having said even all of that (!) - the songs are pretty fine for the most part. Confused? 'Bizarro' is a confusing, transitional album, it's true.

    The mighty 'Brassneck' opens, but once you've heard the single version, you won't want to hear this in preference. Mr Albini cut out a few redundant strumming parts, compacted it, beefed it up, and voila! The second Wedding Present hit single was born. So, the moral of the tale? Get the re-master. Or, get the single version, anyway. The first Wedding Present hit had been the immortal 'Kennedy'. The drums are indeed pounding and speedy, the guitars rattle loudly. David Gedge part spits out the lyrics, part caresses them. The "Too much apple-pie" section resulted in audiences throwing said products onto the stage at the band, but never mind that. 'Kennedy' is a wonderful, brilliant guitar/indie/pop assault, and assault is the right word. 'Kennedy' never loses sight of melody and always remains a wonderful listen. I love the bass part that comes in around the one minute fifty mark. All rumbling and deep. About the only place on the album the bass is particularly 'rumbling' or 'deep' actually. 'Bizarro' is a fine record, but does suffer from a tinny sound. Oh, well. 'Crushed' is good, bearing in mind this new Wedding Present 'Rock' sound, and the title says it all. 'No' is softer and wonderful, 'Thanks' is short and sounds like 'George Best' only with an additional ten guitar players.

    Side two of 'Bizarro' is a strange thing. We have the forgettable drone of 'Granadaland', we've got the closing sweet but unsubstantial lullaby 'Be Honest'. Inbetween, we've got two songs that amount to sixteen minutes of music. 'Bewitched' was a new structure for the group, a song in sections that progressed as it went on, something of a mini epic. Quieter sections explode into very noisy sections, and all is well. The nine minute plus 'Take Me!' is overlong to be truthful,  but not without fun and merit. The guitars rattle and grimily shine, really they do. A-hem!

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    Seamonsters 10 ( 1991 ) more best albums...
    Dalliance / Dare / Suck / Blonde / Rotterdam / Lovenest / Corduroy / Carolyn / Heather / Octopussy

    Enter Mr Steve Albini. You know, that 'Big Black' guy? That 'Songs About Fucking' guy? That guy who 'recorded' Nirvana's 'In Utero'? Well, here is his finest ever production 'job'. 'In Utero' may have sold millions when this didn't, but this really is such a fucking fantastic album. Came out the same year as the also mighty 'Trompe Le Monde' by The Pixies, by the way. So, i've been debating which I like best, cos I gave 'Trompe Le Monde' a '9½'. I can't split the two, actually. 'Trompe' probably has better songs and this probably sounds better, but only probably. The two records aren't much alike, by the way. Just a thing of mine, they were my favourite albums back in 1991. So, let's get on with this little huge fucking monstrous thing that is 'Seamonsters'. Buy it. Really, just get it. I don't care WHAT type of music you like, buy this!! Let's take opening song 'Dalliance'. Starts all softly softly. David Gedge sings such lines as "still ready to forgive, got you back and that's all he wants" as the guitars quietly, yet slightly sinisterly, go about their business. "Don't care, now that you're gone", sings David. 'Things' progress. "Still want to kiss you.....", more lyrics follow, but i'm not gonna quote the entire song, honestly i'm not. Things build up further still, a little extra rattle about the guitars, the bass sounding deep and powerful. Two minutes elapse, and still you're waiting, waiting for 'the moment'. This moment arrives exactly two minutes forty six seconds into the song. The hiring of Mr Albini pays immense dividends. The drums sound is IMMENSE. The guitars sound like thunder, and the world ending. A rich, immense and supremely exciting sound, hugely loud and dense. In the middle of it all Mr Gedge continues, THE SAME AS BEFORE! Not louder to meet this rich loud sound, and it becomes all the greater. You can still hear him, but everything is so fucking loud and powerful, then fade..... you're breathless. That my friends, is 'Dalliance', the opening song from 'Seamonsters' by The Wedding Present.

    This fucking wonderful sound continues throughout the album. 'Dare' is fast, aggressive, yet with such lyrics, SUCH lyrics married to this intense and aggressive guitar assault. The drums sound fantastic, really wonderful. Steve Albini's best ever production? You bet your fucking arse it is. Because it is. There isn't any doubt. "You're just as bad as me, I know where I'd rather be" sings Mr Gedge and the guitars rise, then sweetly strum. The melodies, oh the melodies! Okay, so this album is a ten. This always happens, ALWAYS happens. I listen, and can't NOT get excited. I apologise for that, really I do. And you know, 'Suck' is fantastic as well, all sweet and soft, yet with a great drum sound to back it all up. "Darling can't you keep / your head next to my head" go the vocals, and you swoon, really you do. The guitars bite a little later - a ballad with an aggressive guitar sound. An aggressive guitar sound with romantic real-life  relationship type lyrics that wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Smiths album. You try telling me this isn't different, or some form of godlike genius. Hey? The quiet to growling to loud 'Blonde' flows into the sweetly strummed 'Rotterdam' and into the amazingly dirt and grunge sounding 'Lovenest'. 'Corduroy' is a moment of heaven akin to the opening 'Dalliance' - an immense sound that blasts your ears off, yet completely fails to be anything remotely resembling Metal, or industrial, or Hard Rock. You know, really this is just indie music. Yeah, right. Ah, I could carry on all day talking about this wonderful record, but I won't.

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    Readers Comments

    eddie harkins edward_joseph_harkins@hotmail.com
    i totally agree seamonsters is the greatest weddoes album.when i listen to the album with headphones on and shut my eyes,i feel as though i am flying thru a field just above the grass,much to the amusement of my mate who got me into the band in the first place.

    Suggies Nose faye.spelman@PremierFoods.co.uk
    always thought that the Wedding Present were a jangly C86 type band, but then my sisters boyfriend lent me 'Bizzaro' and my opinion changed. I then bought the mighty 'Seamonsters' and was blown away. Some of the guitar parts are fantastic (especially the assault midway through 'Dare'), and much more brutal than I imagined. Its worth getting the deluxe edition of this as it comes with some of the B-Sides which are also great.

    Bill Ayres birryboy@hotmail.com
    A cracking write-up, and it prompted me to go out and buy the reissued, remastered version with sleeve notes galore. It's pretty much all I've listened to for the last three days now! Stupendous!

    Stephen Murphy writeme@stephenmurphy.com
    my favourite. I totally agree a classic. has anyone else cursed over the muddy production? I have the vinyl and the CD reissue (as well as vinyl EPS) and the sound quality has always seemed really murky to me. Maybe that's the point but lets all get out of Steve Albini's pants for five minutes and admit that it would be nice to hear more of this record, crisper. Question to WED-heads. Should Crawl and niagra have been included making it 12 tracks?

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    Hit Parade 1 ( 1993 )
    Blue Eyes / Go-Go Dancer / Three / Silver Shorts / Come Play With Me / California / Cattle And Cane / Don't Cry No Tears / Think That It Might / Falling / Pleasant Valley Sunday / Let's Make Some Plans

    The Wedding Present come up with the idea of releasing a limited edition seven inch single, one for every month of the year. They mightily piss of Top Of The Pops in the process, but that's all to the good. But, BUT! The guitar player left after 'Seamonsters'. This would prove serious, but not just now, as David Gedge was in some of the finest writing form of his life. Having said that, no, the songs don't sound as impressive, or anywhere close, to the sound of 'Seamonsters'. And half of this album comprises of cover versions, the b-sides to the original 7 inch singles the group released. Twelve in one year, one for every month! I like that idea, although the prospect at the time of actually being able to buy any one of them was virtually nil, they all sold out before they even hit the shelves. So, six single 'a' sides, six 'b' sides, that's your album. The 'A' sides are all great, by the way. 'Blue Eyes' opens with an attractive and distinctive guitar figure and the lyrics are top-notch David Gedge romantic real life type relationship, heartbreaking stuff. 'Go Go Dancer' rattles along in true Wedding Present fashion, and all is well. 'Three' might just be the finest ballad David Gedge ever wrote but for the melodrama and building into a wall of noise excitement of perhaps the finest song he ever wrote bar none - 'Come Play With Me'. The sound is kind of 'mushy' in places, without great separation of the instruments, but all of these songs shine, even with the relatively cheap production the group used, and bearing in mind the speed with which these songs were written and recorded, to meet each monthly deadline.

    The new song for June was the jaunty and happy sounding pop melodies of 'California', and that wraps up the first part of this 'Hit Parade' bar the b-sides. The b-sides here are variable in quality, from the great Go-Betweens song 'Cattle And Cane' to the more, er, 'interesting' material, eg 'Falling' from the Twin Peaks TV Series. This version of 'Pleasant Valley Sunday' is GREAT though, fabulous song in any case, of course.

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    Hit Parade 2 ( 1993 )
    Flying Saucer / Boing! / Love Slave / Sticky / The Queen Of Outer Space / No Christmas / Rocket / Theme From Shaft / Go Wild In The Country / UFO / Step Into Christmas

    The same idea as before of course, this release collecting together all of the limited edition singles from July through to December, 1993 - both A sides and B Sides. This period saw David Gedge audibly growing tired of the entire idea, as each new song seems worse than the previous one, and none of them match the finest moments from 'Hit Parade 1'. 'Flying Saucer' misses the guitar of Pete Solowka, although is very much in a Wedding Present style, and very enjoyable with it. 'Boing!' slows it down and sports attractive Gedge lead vocals, whilst third song 'Love Slave' tries for a quiet to explosively loud Wedding Present build up, but falls flat on its own face. The transition from quiet to loud, and the entire song in fact, is far from convincing. Still, 'Sticky' is much better, being a simple three minute guitar thrash set to song. 'The Queen Of Outer Space' has interesting lyrics, but nothing to match the lyrics from 'George Best', for example, or even really come anywhere close. The chorus is kind of cool the way the melodies and vocals come sailing in, but this song remains minor Wedding Present.

    'No Christmas' is trying in the extreme, very unmusical...... and things are falling apart. Obvious tiredness, very throwaway material, and the b-sides with only a couple of exceptions, are even worse. By far and away the most fun and enjoyable cover here is the Weddoes version of the Bow Wow Wow song, 'Go Wild In The Country' - with the only other enjoyable or fun cover being a Wedding Present version of the Elton John classic, 'Step Into Christmas'. <

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    Alan Chevrons TwoChevronsApart@oceanrain.co.uk
    Your comment that "No Christmas" is unmusical is absolute nonsense! It's one of the Weds best singles - that distorted introduction, heart-rending lyrics, the desperation of the ending... have you no soul, man? :-)

    Stephen Murphy writeme@stephenmurphy.com
    No, Adrian is right. No Christmas is sh*te. What a misdsed oportunity for those of us who make indie christmas compilations every year. No? Just me then?

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    Watsui 6 ( 1994 )
    So Long Baby / Click Click / Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah / Let Him Have It / Gazebo / Shake It / Spangle / It's A Gas / Swimming Pools, Movie Stars / Big Rat / Catwoman / Hot Pants /

    The Wedding Present leave RCA records to join Island Records for what turned out to be one album only. You'd think that, having gone top ten in the singles charts with 'Come Play With Me' via a limited sold out in one week 10,000 edition 45 - that their debut Island single might at least make top forty. It didn't. The Hit Parade one single every month thing had been a neat idea, but by the time it was finished, everyone was heartily sick of The Wedding Present. And I say that as a fan of the group. They return with 'Watsui', a set of more commercial Wedding Present songs - only to see very disappointing sales and a portion of their fan-base shrug their shoulders. In addition to this, this album has been unavailiable on CD for at least five years. What about the actual music? Well, nothing as startling as the 'Seamonsters' fury of noise - 'So Long Baby' does have a neat time change to lead into its chorus, but bar that, pretty forgettable. 'Click Click' is TOTALLY forgettable, then we get that failed Weddoes single, 'Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah'. Nothing wrong with it, but it is the most commercial thing they'd put out, probably ever - a proper pop song. Nobody much cared, although it's a neat song. A strong chorus - it's catchy. 'Let Him Have It' features a soft Gedge vocal, unremarkable lyrics.... 'Gazebo' is a shining gem of a Wedding Present ballad and easily the strongest song here.

    Side two opens well enough with 'Spangle' coming through lo-fi organ and distorted radio crackles. David Gedge turns in an affecting and tender vocal, proper lyrics.... 'It's A Gas' sounds like a half decent only Monkees song. The guitar tries to do something interesting, but I miss the sound of Pete Solowka - I really miss his sound, and the band really missed his sound. 'Swimming Pools, Movie Stars' is about as strong as any of the second six of the Hit Parade songs, those tired sounding Hit Parade songs as the song-writing tap switched off mid-way through the year. Even the seven minute long 'Cat Woman', seemingly an old Wedding Present 'Kennedy' styled indie rock epic fails to convince - it just doesn't SOUND convincing compared to the mighty heights of the groups first three albums.

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    Stevo s.p.owen@open.ac.uk
    this is a severely underrated album in my opinion I know they were kinda losing interest at this point and the line kept changing but click and yeah yeah yeah are awesome slabs of loveliness in fact the whole thing is a joy from start to finish

    Ryland Evans Cardiff
    totally agree with the fella above. Should have gotten an eight in my opinion - some cracking 'single material' on here. The opening side is fantastic though its latter half suffers a little admitedly. But definitely not a six. Otherwise, I agree with your reviews nine times out of ten Mr Denning!

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    Saturnalia 8 ( 1996 )
    Venus / Real Thing / Dreamworld / 2,3, Go / Snake Eyes / Hula Doll / Big Boots / Montreal / Skin Diving / Jet Girl / Kansas / 50s

    It sneaks up on you, does 'Saturnalia', and that's a good thing to happen. By now, The Wedding Present consisted of exactly one original member, vocalist and song-writer David Gedge. But, but, BUT! The loss of original guitarist Pete Solowka has finally been overcome, maybe just because the recording of these songs is so right. This is a new mellow Wedding Present on one level, but on another level they've recaptured at least a little of their earlier fiery spark and sonic assault. Plus, importantly, the songs are damn good. No, these songs don't rip your ears off, aka 'Dalliance' but they do stick in your brain via the process of repeated listening. A certain point will be reached and suddenly pretty much all of these songs will sound like good songs. The first three songs, for example. 'Venus' is a familiar Wedding Present 'rattle' of guitars, but good god! At the time this album was released, it'd been a good three years since that 'rattle' had appeared, possibly longer than that.... A-ha! A new development! Quiet female vocals add to the Gedge vocals, support the Gedge vocals, and now we're moving towards the next Gedge project, his current band 'Cinerama'. For now though, this is still The Wedding Present because that's what it says on the album cover, and that's what the sound of most of the songs here are - they sound like The Wedding Present. Not the sound of a band moving admirably forwards or really pushing themselves, just the sound of a band recording a decent batch of songs. Sometimes that's enough, you know? Second song 'Real Thing' sounds stop/start without actually stopping and starting, the rhythm of the song is clever, and the bash and tumble of the drums most enjoyable too. Pretty addictive melody this song has once you grow into it. Oh, and, ah! 'Dreamworld' is a lovely classic David Gedge ballad with heart on sleeve lyrics in the best Wedding Present style, and in the best Wedding Present style - there's a quiet to loud thing going on. Hey, I like these quiet to loud things! Easily impressed? Maybe, but the actual writing is genuinely impressive, whether the song does a classic Weddoes thing structurally, or not.

    More highlights? How about '2,3, Go' - it does a great Wedding Present furnace blast thing with the guitars, following a great Wedding Present poppy melody thing and added to a low meaningful vocals thing. Should have been a huge hit - the chorus is diamond and gold, especially the way - and wait for this, the drums and guitars ARE SO LOUD! That's back to a 'Seamonsters' type of thing! Good god, why did Mr Gedge decide 'Saturnalia' should be the final Wedding Present album? They were getting damn good again, dammit! 'Snake Eyes', but especially the darling 'Montreal' are highlights, the latter as good a song as Mr Gedge has ever written. Another song that should have been a big hit, by the way. Why wasn't it? Well, I guess The Wedding Present weren't the most fashionable group in the world circa 1996 amid the Britpop onslaught. An onslaught with which they had nothing in common. The Wedding Present were always about the music, always. Deeply unfashionable from their beginnings to their endings - maybe a little fashionable around the time of 'Bizarro' or summat, who knows? Who cares. They were a damn good band.

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    Take Fountain 8 ( 2005 )
    On Ramp / Interstate 5 / Always The Quiet One / I'm From Further North Than You Are / Mars Sparkles Down On Me / Ringway To Seatac / Don't Touch That Dial / It's For You / Larry's / Queen Anne / Perfect Blue

    The first Wedding Present album for nine years, following the split from David Gedge and his girlfriend and musical Cinerama collabortaor, Sally. Cinerama started off quite poppy but in later years lent towards sounding almost, but not quite, like The Wedding Present. This album also follows the death of John Peel and it's strange to have a Weddoes album not feted on the radio by Sir John Peel. Still, things happen in life that we don't always like, but have no choice about. Whatever has happened in the nine years since the last album, it's still wonderful to have a new Wedding Present album. I believe there's nothing better to inspire a song-writer than a relationship break-up and the finding of a possible new romance, and so it is here with 'Take Fountain'. The musical back-up lacks quite such stellar guitar and drums as peak Wedding Present, but it's noisy enough and satisfying enough to please, all the same. The first two songs satisfy. The first being an atmospheric instrumental, just enough to place The Wedding Present in the 21st century without alienating their fans. The second, a classic extended piece of Wedding Present, an eight minute long guitar track that ends with all sorts of musical goings on that unlike Wedding Present of the past, actually manages to be quite beautiful if you imagine you're a classical music fan. Golly! Seriously, 'Interstate' is the highlight of this set, a wonderful piece of music, doom, romance, rock, guitars, Morrissey type lost lonely lyrics, un-morrissey like mentions of sex and dirty ordinary everyday life goings on in northern england bedrooms. A classic!

    Other highlights? Well, it's a tight enough album and after 'Interstate 5' other highlights almost don't matter. Some songs just pass you by, but others are enough to indicate a Wedding Present revivial in the offing! 'Ringway To Seatac' is a wonderful slice of Weddoes pop, 'Always The Quiet One' rings very true and shines in the best Weddoes traddition. 'Don't Touch That Dial' could almost pass for a 'Seamonsters' song. Almost, but not quite. Still, the point is that The Wedding Present have returned with an album worthy of the name, an album all fans of them, past and present, will surely enjoy. That's enough for now.

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    Readers Comments

    Jim Bass georgebass1968@tiscali.co.uk
    Like the page. Almost agree with all the comments, been a die-hard Weddoes fan since the beginning, for me, George Best is always the greatest. Love the new album, cried all the way through. 'Always the Quiet One' and 'It's For You' are the best. Got the Reception Rose tattoed on my arm. Best band of all time, always, but for me the real Wedding Present died the day Grapper left.

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    Peel Sessions ( 2007 )
    You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends / It's What You Want That Matters / This Boy Can Wait / Felicity / All About Eve / Don't Laugh / Never Said / Don't Be So Hard / Hopak / Give My Love To Kevin / Something And Nothing / Million Miles / Getting Nowhere Fast / Katyusha / Svitit Misyats / Tiutiunyk / Yikhay Kozak Za Dunai / Hude Dripro Hyde / Davni Chasny / Vasya Vasyliok / Zadumav Didochok / Verkhovyno / Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now? / Unfaithful / Take Me / Happy Birthday / Zavtra / Sertsem I Dusheyev / Cherez Richku Cherez Hai / Dalliance / Heather / Blonde / Niagra / California / Flying Saucer / Softly Softly / Come Play With Me / Gazebo / So Long Baby / Spangle / Him Or Me (What's It Gonna Be) / Drive / Love Machine / Sports Car / Go Man Go / Blue Eyes / Ringway To Seatac / Shivers / Queen Anne / White Horses / What Have I Said Now / Crushed / Kennedy / Bewitched / Granadaland / Lengthy Interview / Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah / Kennedy / Swimming Pools Movie Stars / Click Click / It's A Gas / Spangle / Gazebo / Fleshworld / Sucker / Queen Of Outer Space / Interview / Introduction - Peel, John / Silver Shorts / Love Machine / Snake Eyes / Sports Car / Convertible / Click Click / My Favourite Dress / Real Thing / It's A Gas / Skin Diving / Sucker / Corduroy / Mini Prize Draw / Go Go Dancer / Sports Car / Kansas / 2 3 Go / Bewitched / Venus / Loveslave / Real Thing / Drive / Montreal / Come Play With Me / Brassneck / Crawl

    I reviewed The Fall 'Peel Sessions' box of course, although to call my brief paragraph a review is slightly overstating the issue. It wasn't so much a review as 'hey, this thing exists, of course it's good, what more do you want?' The release of The Wedding Present Peel Sessions box set is a time therefore for me to make amends somewhat. I want to take the opportunity to praise and criticize The Wedding Present, celebrate John Peel and basically reminisce. John Peel, The Wedding Present and The Fall have all been ever presents in my life until John Peel's unfortunate passing. The camaraderie between John and David Gedge provided many a highlight of my evenings, or late nights, to be more accurate. The festive fifty was usually a time where The Wedding Present, generally with half a dozen songs in the list, would somehow end up making an appearence in the studio to have a chat with John. I treasured such moments, daft as it may now sound. The fact that John Peel held the singer from one of your favourite bands in high esteem made you feel all warm and cosy inside, like gaining approval from a particularly beloved uncle. No matter that you probably became a fan because of John Peel anyway, that didn't quite enter into the equation, but it was in the back of your mind. Always in your mind that should John Peel ever not be around, it was going to be a hell of a lot harder to find decent bands. Such is now proving to be the case.

    Anyway, The Wedding Present. Indie when the term still had meaning. Do you remember 1993, 12 singles in 12 months? The Wedding Present charting inside the top twenty, even for a week, was somehow miraculous, such was the lack of airplay for indie bands on daytime radio. Of course, britpop, for better or worse, has made it easy for mediocre proper bands to gain airplay. What about the rest of such bands? What about the new bands perhaps like The Fall, will we even know they exist? Huge chunks of great music could be passing us by. But ah, 1993! The guitarist had left the band but the 'Hit Parade' singles got better and better and better until they peaked in quality and chart position with 'Come Play With Me', which remarkably hit top ten, making a mockery of the singles charts at the same time by being a limited edition.

    Post 1993 The Wedding Present lost me for a little while. Their line-up started to become unstable and the enjoyable enough likes of the 'Mini' LP weren't quite enough to reignite my love for them. Curiously, I kept on buying their records anyway, out of some sense of loyalty. This loyalty was rewarded I like to feel when they released their 2005 album, an unexpected return to form. That post-peel LP isn't covered here, of course. The tracks from 'Mini' are covered here and there's also an interview/speech section between Peel and Gedge. I remember the competition, although clearly I didn't win the mini-car in question.

    The songs from 'Seamonsters' don't actually sound as good here as they did on record originally. The songs from 'Hit Parade' sound just as good and the songs from 'Wasui', that over-produced album for Island Records, sound better than they did first time out. The real stars on display though come from the first LP era, 'Felicity', 'My Favourite Dress'. There is an electric version of the lovely 'Gazebo' from 'Watsui' however that's very cool and twice as good as the good in the first place album version. The sessions doing Ukranian folk songs are funny and just as enjoyable listened to many years later as the shock of hearing them in the first place. The Wedding Present were never ever perceived as being a hip groovy band, but this is hip stuff! I met the band circa the 'Sucker' single and tore strips off the bands then guitarist for ripping off The Fall whilst my then girlfriend chatted up David Gedge. Ah, happy times, happy times. We split up shortly afterwards. Well, I should probably have been nicer to the poor fellow. I was upset anyway because he wasn't my favourite Wedding Present guitarist, who had left a few years previously. I wasn't having none of it! So, in summary then, enjoy the band for what they were and be happy they're still at it, even if Peel isn't around himself to enjoy.

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    El Rey 7 ( 2008 )
    Santa Ana Winds / Spider-Man On Hollywood / I Lost The Monkey / Soup / Palisades / The Trouble With Men / Model, Actress, Whatever / Don't Take Me Home Until I'm Drunk / The Thing I Like Best About Him Is His Girlfriend / Boo Boo / Swingers

    The Wedding Present reunite with Steve Albini for the first time since their classic 'Seamonsters' set. Unfortunately, this isn't really the right set of songs for Steve Albini. Singer David Gedge remains in bedsit romantic and/or love-lost mode throughout the LP and there's little bitterness or bite for Albini to wrap his sonic alchemy around. What we get as a result in a rather tame ( by Albini standards ) rhythm section and Wedding Present by numbers lead-jangle-guitar. The guitar isn't loud enough, the drummer isn't good enough ( compared to the mighty drumming on Seamonsters ) and Gedge appears to be going through the motions lyrically. Don't get me wrong, we still have enough tunes to make 'El Rey' a worthwhile project, but suffice to say, there's nothing here as brilliant as 'Interstate Five' - now that's a song Albini would surely have liked to have produced? Still, this time out we open with 'Santa Ana Winds' which tries and succeeds in carrying on from where the last album left off. This song has hints of depth and a satisfyingly full, bass heavy sound. 'Spider Man On Hollywood' meanwhile will be the tune fans sing-a-long with Gedge... erm... with. It's a bit like a Watsui era tune, albeit with less glossy production than 'Watsui' suffered from. It's a good tune and the C86 jangle is present and correct.

    A couple of fan pleasing moments remain. 'I Lost The Monkey' is a good lyric and explodes in the right sections, from quiet to loud. We like those quiet to loud moments. 'Soup' is demented, easily the most demented moment on the LP and perhaps the most enjoyable. Elsewhere, we have some lifeless tracks, particularly the female sung album closer 'Swingers'. Still, Gedge has been going for decades now and he can't make every LP the best. File this one somewhere near Watsui in your Weddoes section.

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    Readers Comments

    Rob Ireland
    Have to agree with the rating, mainly because El Rey is always going to be compared to Seamonsters, the last Albini collaboration and Take Fountain, the previous album. Taken out of that context it's a damn good album given a few listens. But when compared to these 2 I'm not sure it'll remain as firmly embedded in my mp3 player playlists as Seamonsters and Take Fountain (my personal Weddoes fav) have. The opening guitar on Ringway To Seatac still gives me goosebumps and I'm yet to find that moment on El Rey. Still, great to have a new Wedding Present album to listen to though.

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    this page last updated 10/08/08

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