The Wedding Present
Returning this month with a new gift for fans
The cardigan was not always a one-way ticket to a headline gig in Glasgow; for a period in the late eighties, the underground music scene was composed of many underfed, over-read students worshipping warmly dressed nobodies who sang songs of urban disaffection and lovelorn loneliness.
Adored by their fans and lauded by the likes of John Peel, over their twenty year career, The Wedding Present came to define this 'misery loves company' ethos of the modern love song. Returning this month with a new gift for fans, a release of singles and b-Sides from last year's critically celebrated album 'Take Fountain', this new incarnation of the band are proving that there will always be scope for themes of loss, jealousy, lust and vengeance.
'Take Fountain' signalled a more mature settling of the Wedding Present sound, tracks such as Interstate 5 taking on an epic feel with an unsuspectingly Moriccone-esque ending. Yet the subject matter remains true to form and is affecting as ever, no-one could listen to Mars Sparkles Down On Me without wincing at David Gedge's ability to paint a simple, affecting portrait of the helplessness of heartbreak.
Whilst the band have released several albums of b-sides and singles in what is often viewed as marketing gimmickry, there are apparent artistic reasons for this latest release and tour. The songs were originally written when Gedge was still in his Cinerama incarnation with former partner Sally Murrell. When the relationship - and with it, the group - ended, the album project was transferred to The Wedding Present. It makes sense then that they would wish to put the signature of this band onto songs originally composed for another.
From the reports of recent gigs, it seems that long time followers will get a chance to dust off their Doc Martens and enjoy some old favourites. For those curious about the band, the tour could prove an eye opener. Although most often compared to The Smiths and the Undertones, the naive, confessional nature and storytelling aspect of Gedge's lyrics is at odds with the wry cynicism of Morrissey and other English acts. In truth, the band has always been closer to the spirit of American indie songsters, becoming more apparent with the guitar distortion and perky heartbroken pining on 'Bizzaro' and 'Seamonsters'.
Reunited with Steve Fisk on 'Take Fountain', the return to more guitar-driven tunes should bring back the energy and immediacy that some listeners thought was missing with Cinerama. Playing in Glasgow this month, highlights from their diverse career along, with the breadth of the new material, should encourage new fans to give a warm reception to The Wedding Present.
'Search for Paradise: Singles 2004-2005' is out now on Scopitones. http://www.scopitones.com