The Wedding Present
It's been 21 years since The Wedding Present's arguable masterpiece Seamonsters. And while they're doing the tour-your-classic-album thing with that one this year (as they did in 2010 with another arguable masterpiece Bizarro), they'll also have a little something new for you: Valentina, the group's eighth studio album.
A Wedding Present album is a known quantity at this point, and really, a known quality. David Gedge—regardless of who's in his band at any given time—does this stuff so effortlessly: the acerbic and lovelorn talk-singing, the wonderful guitar tones, the dynamic leaps, and the classic songwriting chops.
If anything has changed over the years, particularly since reforming the band in 2005, it's Gedge's increasing willingness to let his hair down, as evidenced by some almost Eddie Argos-style lyrical hijinks ("You appall me/OK, call me" on opener "You're Dead," for example). Also musically, with songs such as "Fidelio" being very light on their feet. This is welcome, of course—all that simmering is nicely offset by a little levity now and again. Plus, if it wasn't there in delivery before, it was still present in Gedge's silver-tongued twists of irony.
So here you have it, another iteration of The Wedding Present, a bona fide institution at this point, and not one to rest on those laurels—vital as ever. (www.scopitones.co.uk)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 8/10