The Wedding Present

El Rey | Manifesto
By DANIEL DeNORCH  |  May 20, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars
Time has sweetened David Gedge’s barrel-throated yawp; his adolescent sneer has bled out and been replaced with a wistful lilt. As the lead singer-songwriter for the Wedding Present, he’s crafted a quintessentially British brand of indie rock, languorous and verbose, over seven full-length albums. El Rey finds him transplanting the band from Seattle (the American music equivalent of their native Leeds) to Los Angeles. His native distaste — too sluggish to be hateful, yet acerbic enough to be charming — is plied to all the California tropes: highways, strip malls, Hollywood schlocks. Couched in producer Steve Albini’s familiar throttled wash, each of the album’s 11 tracks is a grizzled soundtrack to Gedge’s perennially thwarted love life. Although his methods have changed — he text-messages (“Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Drunk”), stares lecherously at jpegs (“Actress, Model, Whatever . . . ”), and freely chucks out Seinfeld references (“Soup”) — Gedge manages fruitfully. It’s a mere change of scenery, then, that separates this from much of the Wedding Present’s canonical work; the scabrous schoolboy humor of their 1987 debut, George Best, has become the scabrous, middle-aged cynicism of El Rey. Subtract a few years and some palm trees and what’s left is Gedge as he always was: a romantically stifled dweeb, uncomfortably literate and uncommonly talented.
Related: The Wedding Present, Flashbacks, March 17, 2006, Work ethics, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Steve Albini, David Gedge
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