60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #15


The Wedding Present – Seamonsters (1991)

#15.   Not too bad for an album that nearly didn’t make the cut.   But then again, Take Fountain, the ‘comeback’ album in 2005 from The Wedding Present, would likely have occupied as lofty a position.

I’ve never shied away from the fact that I was late to The Wedding Present. By 1991, I did have a lot of what they had released, all bought in something of a hurry to make up for being so late – it was hearing Kennedy in a record shop that had finally got me hooked.

Seamonsters was to be their third studio album, but it was one that I knew was going to be totally different from what had come before, thanks to hearing songs they had played in session for John Peel in October 1990. It was one of those occasions when I later regretted not taping anything at the time- it just wasn’t something I was in the habit of doing – and furthermore this was a period when I wasn’t an avid listener to the show as I wasn’t long after moving into a flat with Rachel, and we were in those first throes of love where you seemed to be constantly joined at the hip – she must have been out visiting some of her friends that night as there would be no other reason as to why I could have been tuning into Radio 1 late in the evening.

Anyways, the noises which came out of the radio during the latter half of a song called Dalliance seemed to come from a completely different planet.  It very much stayed with me, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it when It was finally put on the next album, which turned out to be May 1991.

I wrote about Dalliance when I pulled together ICA 7, describing it as a stunning and unexpected wall of sound that took the band to a whole new level in terms of fanbase and out of the realms of mere indie-pop.

But the very same words could be written about any of the ten tracks on the two sides of the vinyl.  It is up there with as perfect an album as I have in my collection – which is not something I’ll be readily able to claim with some of the remaining 14 in this rundown.

mp3: The Wedding Present – Heather

Choosing to work with Steve Albini in a remotely located studio in rural Minnesota was a major gamble on everyone’s part, and it has to be admitted that the experience would lead to the fracturing of relationships and later changes in band personnel.  The musicians clearly suffered quite a bit for their art, but from a purely selfish perspective, I’ll say it was a price well worth paying.

I’ll make no apologies for foisting two very intense and dark albums on you over consecutive days.   I promise that tomorrow, the start of a new month and the actual one in which I will celebrate my 60th birthday, will have something a bit easier on the soul.





JC’s recent Wedding Present post inspired me to dig back into my records and very quickly an ICA started forming in my head. I was shocked to discover there’s only one ICA on the site (#7 to be precise, way way back in 2015!). My experience was very different from the one described there (go back, it’s worth the read). This came to me mostly fully formed in a few minutes. If you’ll indulge me… I will explain.

The Wedding Present was the first band that I considered mine. I’m an 80s kid and thanks to a very cool older sister I grew up immersed in all the good stuff (Cure, Smiths, Joy Division, etc.). Those bands were big enough and had been around long enough that I was jumping on someone else’s train 😉. When the aforementioned cool sis did her year abroad she left her records at home and I spent those months sampling everything. When I stumbled on her copy of This Boy Can Wait, I formed an instant connection.

At first I was completely taken by the jangly guitar. The opening lic is still one of my all time favorites. If you are unfortunate enough to be around me in the presence of a guitar you will eventually hear it. This is the first experience I can remember of being into a band at their inception. We were very fortunate to have a Tower Records in town with good music nerds keeping it well stocked with imports. I still remember buying my copy of George Best and putting it on for the 1st time. The guitars seemed impossible! The stories were tragic! From that day on I followed Gedge in all his forms, seeing the band every time they came to town (which in those days was a lot). However, unlike most bands I was into, most of my friends either didn’t like it, didn’t care, or were outright annoyed when I would foist it upon them. So the WP remained my own for decades. There was a brief moment during Seamonsters when they bubbled to the surface. One of the DJs on the local commercial station even let slip once that he was a fan. That was fun.

All this is to say those records are in my DNA. While I love love love the big songs and the singles, over the years I have found that my regular catalog dives start with the other stuff. Gedge is a master of the 3min pop song, and can turn a heartbreaking phrase like few others. But this ICA is full of songs where he breaks that mold. Maybe that’s why they stick out of the pack for me. It certainly explains why there’s zero overlap with the first ICA (which is excellent, BTW). If that’s the main comp, think of this as the limited edition bonus disc.

Side A

  1. This Boy Can Wait  (This Boy Can Wait 12” Single)Dance with the one which brought ya. The opening crashes the party, and makes sure you know it. He even gets the girl! But the end implies it’s not that simple (it never is). “Tonight, when I hold you in my arms And I prove that I’m a man Oh well I hope you understand.”

  2. Crawl  (Corduroy 12” Single)This is the 1st song that came up when I started thinking of an ICA. Gedge breaks the ABABCB structure to deliver 4 verses, building to a crashing chorus that only happens once. Is it a chorus, an outro, a bridge to nowhere? Don’t know, don’t care, it works!

  3. I’m Not Always So Stupid  (Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm 12” Single)Making simple songs like this is so much harder than it seems. Somehow Gedge always makes it sound so effortless. The lead jangle bit is one of my all-time faves. “You’ve changed your number, and my phonebook’s such a mess.”

  4. One Day All This Will Be Yours  (Kennedy 12” Single)As far as I can remember, there’s nothing like this in the entire catalog. It opens with a drumroll that sounds like it’s gonna be an intro, but ends up driving almost the entire song. The moment when it clears out for a brief “normal” bit pays off beautifully.

  5. Sports Car  (Mini) After so many songs about being burnt, this totally unapologetic take from the other guy stuck out to me. I also just love the way the song is structured in 3 scenes; sneaking around to screw it let’s go to what seems like a very nice drive in the countryside :).

Side B

  1. Suck (Seamonsters)Seamonsters is an aptly named monster of an album, but of all the songs this one sticks with me the most. I think it all comes down to that transition from verse to chorus. So much fun to sing along with in the car (sorrynotsorry, people staring at me at the stoplight).

  2. Montreal (Montreal 7” single)At the time I had no idea the wonders in store, but listening back now it seems obvious that it’s a proto-Cinerama track. It was nice to see David trying something new and nailing it. All that said, it’s the complexity of the underlying narrative that keeps me coming back. Our little Gedgie feels so grown up here.

  3. Bewitched  (Bizzaro)Bizzaro is my favorite WP album, due to some really big indulgent swings that pay off beautifully. Who among us hasn’t punched the air 4 beats early to this one.

  4. Shatner (George Best)That opening guitar! Maybe the most perfect distillation of the Solowka era. Also the contrast of the joyous music and dark narrative: “Look there’s a bruise I didn’t see.”

  5. Spangle (Watusi)Gedge’s bread and butter theme, delivered in the most heartbreaking fashion possible. I often wonder if the full band version was intended to be on Watusi, with this little experiment as a b-side somewhere.

I did it! I kept it to 10! Here’s a mix. Even with Bewitched in there it still comes in at a svelte 35min.

Wedding Present ICA

As I mentioned before this mix spring pretty much fully formed from my head in less than an hour. Here’s a list of honorable mentions. Every time I would try to fit one of these in the list I just could bring myself to dump anything.

  • Unfaithful (John Peel Sessions 1987-1990)

  • Fleshworld (Lovenest 12″ single)

  • Happy Birthday (John Peel Sessions 1987-1990)

  • Pleasant Valley Sunday (Come Play With Me 7″ single)

  • Loveslave (Loveslave 7″ single)

  • Nothing Comes Easy (Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm 12″ single)

  • Gone (Brassneck 12″ single)

  • It’s Not Unusual (Kennedy 12″ single)

  • No Christmas (No Christmas 7″ single)

P.S. I wanna give a special shout out to No Christmas. I was not too excited upon its release but it has grown to be a favorite over the years. Listening back now it sure does feel like early postrock. I had to look it up, but it appears to have been released a full 5 years before Mogwai blew everyone away with Like Herod. Maybe if it had been 10+ minutes it would be remembered differently? One things for sure, it’s a song I can’t play with anyone else in the car. Some things never change 😀.




As you can see from the above picture, it’s nothing to do with R.E.M. and the opening track on New Adventures In Hi-Fi.

In November 2008, The Wedding Present released a mini-box set called How The West Was Won.  It came on the back of the album El Rey, on which the band had worked with Steve Albini for the first time in 15 years.  I had been a bit underwhelmed by the album, but this was more to do with my advance expectations being sky-high, not just from the fact Albini was involved, but also that Take Fountain, the previous ‘comeback’ album had been exceptional.

I wasn’t sure about shelling out for the box set. It contained 4 EPs, but very little in the way of new material. Three of the EPs were led-off by variations of what, admittedly, were the three best songs on El Rey, while the fourth was a Christmas-type release that had been given a digital release that I, and many fans, had already purchased.  There really wasn’t much value for money.

EP 1. The Thing I Like Best About Him Is His Girlfriend – four versions of one song, but all different from the album version.

EP 2. Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Drunk   – three versions of one song (one of which was identical to the album version), plus a previously unreleased song.

EP 3. Santa Ana Winds  – a slightly edited version of the album tracks along alongside three previously unreleased songs.

EP 4. Holly Jolly Hollywood  – it had been billed as first ever Wedding Present Christmas EP and two versions of the title track along with two covers – one being the Bing Crosby classic White Christmas and the other being Back For Good.  Yup, the hit song by Take That.

But for some daft reason, I shelled out for it for the box set.  I can’t remember what I paid for, £15 or £20 comes to mind.  It’s not an extravagantly packaged box set, indeed it’s quite minimal with four discs inside a standard sized box with a small CD sized leaflet with details of all the credits.  I downloaded the tracks into the hard drive and put the EP on the shelf alongside the various other CDs by The Wedding Present.

Here’s a track from each of the EPs:-

mp3: The Wedding Present – The Best Thing I Like About Him Is His Girlfriend (Jet Age Remix)
mp3: The Wedding Present – Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Drunk (Team Wah Wah Remix)
mp3: The Wedding Present – Santa Ana Winds (edit)
mp3: The Wedding Present – Holly Jolly Hollywood

The first remix is the work of Eric Tischler, a member of Jet Age, an American indie-rock band from Washington D.C.

The second is the work of Christopher McConville, one-time guitarist with TWP and who was the co-writer of the song – David Gedge is on record as saying Chris is one of the best musicians he’s worked with.

Santa Ana Winds actually opens EL Rey, and the version on the EP is approx. 40 seconds shorter, missing out, in the main, a morse-code type introduction. I’ve a feeling there’s a bit of regret it was never given a physical release as a single.

Finally, the Christmas song that opens EP4….tempting as it was to offer up one of the covers.  The female vocal is courtesy of Simone White, an American singer-songwriter much of whose solo material has been released through the London-based Honest Jon’s label, renowned for its extremely eclectic roster of artists and releases.




This was one of three posts scheduled for last month that had to be held back.  Some extracts from ICA 7.

It’s What You Want That Matters

A song that had first been aired two years previously on the Peel show when it was known as What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?

I’ve admitted before that I was late to The Wedding Present. I hadn’t given them much attention in the early days simply as the music papers were saying this was the band to fill the Smiths-sized void in your life and I just didn’t think at the time that anyone could do such a thing. George Best had been out for the best part of three years when I first got a hold of a copy. This was the initial stand out track for me. And I still love it all this time later.

Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm

There’s some wording on the back of the sleeve of this single.

‘Additional vocals by Amelia’

This little touch gave the band a different dynamic as they brought in the indie goddess who was Amelia Fletcher from Talulah Gosh to add backing vocals to some new songs after the release of the debut LP. It was a short-lived partnership of no more than a few months, and it didn’t make it beyond minor contributions to the sophomore classic that was Bizarro. But it planted a seed for male/female vocals that came to the fore in the Cinerama era and thereafter in the 21st Century Weddoes. This is a cracking 45 which took the band into the Top 50 of the singles chart for the first time.

Brassneck (single version)

The production from Steve Albini on Seamonsters really helped the band break out of the indie-shell and a hint of what he would do can be found on the remix of the opening track from the Bizarro LP. Thirty seconds are trimmed from the original while the arrangement is tightened and beefed up. I love how the electric guitar gives way to the acoustic strumming about two-thirds of the way through before the ‘beached whale wailing’ beckons David back to microphone.



Four days after Lloyd Cole, we had a trip across to St Luke’s in the east end of the city to see The Wedding Present.

It was actually touch-and-go whether we would go out that night.  Both myself and Rachel have lingering effects of the recent bouts of COVID that came visiting recently – I’m not saying we have long-COVID or the likes, but the post-viral thing is proving to be a bit of a nuisance and we both find ourselves easily tired, especially as the day goes on.  Lloyd Cole had been fine as it was a sit-down gig, but the Weddoes felt like an altogether different proposition.

Having established that this was a ‘doors at 7pm, support band at 7.30 and main band at 8.30/8.45’ type of event, we took the decision to skip the support act and to refrain from any booze all evening, on the basis that it was the best way to make sure we got through the evening.

St Luke’s is one of my favourite places in Glasgow. It’s a converted church, just a few hundred yards from Barrowlands, which had been empty and derelict for decades. A stunning restoration saw it re-open as a venue, with a fabulous bar and restaurant alongside, in 2015.  The venue alone was very much behind making the effort to get along…oh and the fact too that the gig was part of the delayed 30th Anniversary tour of Seamonsters, with the promise that all the songs from the album would receive an airing.

Bang on 8.30pm, four musicians took to the stage, with a Philip Schofield look-a-like in centre stage…..no matter that it’s been at least a year since he decided to let the natural ageing process take care of his hair, I still can’t get used to seeing David Gedge as a silver-top.  Not a word was said as the first notes of Dalliance were struck up….and as soon as its final note was played, and before the audience got a chance to cheer, it was straight into Dare.  Without any let up, it was Suck, followed by Blonde, at which point it became clear that we were being treated to Seamonsters in its exact running order.   As it turned out, David didn’t utter a single word until Octopussy had finished, at which point he said good evening and how delighted he was to be back in Glasgow, adding that, as we were all aware, the full album had been played and the second half of the show would contain loads of old songs with some new stuff mixed in.  At that point in time, I really couldn’t have cared less about what was to follow as hearing Seamonsters, in its full sonic glory, had been a treat.  This line-up wasn’t really shaping up as indie-Weddoes in terms of jangly guitars, so I was intrigued as to what would be aired.

We would find out as the show progressed that bassist Melanie Howard was suffering from a touch of laryngitis and that she couldn’t do her usual vocal parts, meaning that David had to carry things on his own.  There’s no doubt this led to a late change of plans in terms of the set list, with just one of the really new songs being aired, the as yet unreleased, X Marks The Spot, which is scheduled to be the next single in the 24 Songs project of 2022 in which a newly pressed 45 is released each calendar month. Otherwise, it was classic after classic after classic after classic.  I can’t give you the full rundown of the songs aired or the order they were played, but I do know Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft, A Million Miles, and My Favourite Dress all took us all back to the early days, while there were also airings for a couple of my favourites from more recent albums:-

mp3: The Wedding Present – Deer Caught In Headlights
mp3: The Wedding Present – It’s For You

The former has been a staple of the live shows since its release on the Valentina album in 2012, but the latter is something that I can only ever recall hearing once before, and that was many years ago. My wee heart skipped a beat when David announced it….

California and Blue Eyes represented the 1992 singles efforts, and both sounded better now than they did 30 years on, testament to the tightness and skills of the band, and indeed from whatever pact David Gedge has made with a supernatural being to ensure his voice improves with age….or maybe he’s just got better at picking the songs which still suit his range.

Oh, and I haven’t mentioned the ridiculously good way the show ended – Kennedy, Crawl, and Bewitched, with the final song just about taking the roof off the place at that point when it goes from where you think it is just about to fade out to all-out sonic attack.

mp3: The Wedding Present – Bewitched (live)

Sadly, not from the St Luke’s show, but a version recorded at the Reading Festival in 1996 for a show broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and later included as part of the stupendous 6xCD The Complete Peel Sessions 1986-2004.

The gig concluded bang on 90 minutes, as ever without an encore, but enabling us to catch whatever mode of public transport would get us home, and indeed plenty of time for a visit to the merchandise stall for some vinyl and something a bit more unusual:-

The fact that we now have matching travel mugs, surely, is all the evidence you need to prove that myself and Rachel have left our working-class roots well and truly behind us.




The excellent guest posting on The Wedding Present/The Ukrainians last week by Strangeways made passing reference to 1992 being the year that The Weddoes, via the single-a-month Hit Parade project, enjoyed twelve calendar-year top 40 hits to equal the record of one-time label-mate Elvis Presley.

Some of you might be aware that the band is doing a similar thing in 2022, albeit without expecting to be in a position to enjoy chart domination in the way they did thirty years ago.

The project, which was announced last October, is called 24 Songs, which will be released, two-at-a-time in the middle of each month, on 7″ vinyl.  It’s not quite identical to Hit Parade as the b-side to the January single was a Wedding Present original, whereas the 1992 project had covers as b-sides all the way through. Having said that, the February single does have a cover on its b-side…which I’ll come to in a bit.

I don’t think you’ll be surprised to learn that I’ve subscribed to ensure that I get all the singles delivered safe and sound to Villain Towers, complete with the specially designed collector’s box to store them in.

The January single was We Should Be Together, a duet with Louise Wener of Sleeper that was originally included on the excellent and worthy Locked Down and Stripped Back album, released in February 2021.   Its b-side was ridiculously good, demonstrating that the band can still rock out all these years later:-

The February single sort of continues along a similar theme:-

And there’s a brave stab at a new wave classic for its b-side:-

If you’ve had your fancy tickled by all of the above, then it’s not too late to get on board and pick up the vinyl, either individually or as part of the subscription.  Click here for more details.

In the meantime, here’s a throwback to March 1992, and the third single released by the band that year.

mp3: The Wedding Present – Three
mp3: The Wedding Present – Think That It Might

The b-side cover on that occasion was one of the more obscure ones chosen for the Hit Parade project, being a really alternative take on an Altered Images song, originally released in 1982 on the album Pinky Blue.

mp3: Altered Images – Think That It Might

Three entered the UK singles chart at #14 on 8 March 1992.  And for the purposes of showing how much David Gedge (like all of us) has changed in thirty years, here’s the Top of the Pops appearance to round things off.

Oh, and both Weddoes mps3 are ripped from the original vinyl from all those years ago.




Amid no little incidences of pearl-clutching and cries of ‘sell out’, in 1989 The Wedding Present moved from their own Reception Records to a major: RCA.

This was at a time when, for many pop fans, indie as a state of label mattered just as much as indie as a state of mind. The Weddoes had been canny though, negotiating terms that saw the band retaining full artistic control over the songs they recorded, how they sounded and which would be released (to the point that if RCA refused a release, the band – very well-versed in the DIY route – could put the thing out themselves without breaching contract).

It did seem like a best of both worlds affair: the group would keep on keeping on, but was now backed by the power – distribution, marketing, promotion and press – wielded by the label that had once been the home of Elvis.

But hang on. Remember that bit about the band on RCA sounding precisely as you’d expect them to? Scratch that. Because the first release on the major – due, admittedly, to the recent collapse of the Red Rhino distribution network – was a collection of Ukrainian Peel sessions.

This was a project inspired by Weddoes-guitarist-at-the-time Peter Solowka’s Ukrainian family heritage. The sessions featured an invited cohort of musicians connected to Ukraine, including the Leeds-based singer and violin player the Legendary Len Liggins. The songs? Across the three sessions, they were raucous and romantic, often played at a furious pace and at high volume. Not so terribly different then from your regular Wedding Present output.

And speaking of regular output, the RCA years (’89- ’92) would become something of a golden era for the band. Bizarro (1989) and Seamonsters (1991) remain feted LPs, and between these a couple of EPs ushered in a darker, more distorted sound: one that began a roll-call of Top of the Pops appearances. Then, in 1992, via the single-a-month Hit Parade project, twelve calendar-year top 40 hits equalled the record of… one-time label-mate Elvis Presley. But that’s another story and already I’ve veered off course.

As readers will have guessed, the terrible events currently occurring in Ukraine have inspired this post. And hopefully it’s received as it’s intended: as a very small acknowledgement both of what’s going on thanks to Putin and his act of war, and the ability of music to unite rather than divide.

There are loads of ways to send help to those whose lives have been turned upside-down by this tragedy. Collections of cash have of course been called for, and so have donations of clothing, blankets, towels and toiletries. Just have a search online if you’re inclined.

The Wedding Present announced just the other day that sales, from the band’s website, of their Ukrainian-related re-releases would be donated to causes supporting the Ukrainian people. It’s heartening to see that these items sold out in short order.

To the music. Here’s probably the most well-known track from the sessions:

Davni Chasy, first broadcast on 15 March 1988 as part of the group’s fifth Peel session.

The song itself will be better remembered by many as the single Those Were the Days by Mary Hopkin. Wikipedia tells us that in 1968, this was a number 1 hit in the UK, and only the Beatles’ Hey Jude stopped it doing the same business on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA. Coincidentally, Hopkin’s single was produced by… Paul McCartney.

Also on offer: a 1993 Smiths cover from The Ukrainians, the band Peter Solowka put together post-Wedding Present.

Thanks, as ever, to JC for the opportunity to post this.



I don’t really like posting up links to songs that are relatively new – and by that I tend to think of as having been released in the previous 12 months – but for this occasional and temporary series, I’m going to make exceptions on the grounds that the mp3s will be low-res and if anyone giving them a listen happens to like then, then there’s every possibility that they will go out of their way to make a purchase.

If, like me, you’re already beginning to think of some items to put on a list for Santa to leave in your stocking on the morning of 25 December, then I’ll be offering up a few suggestions for your consideration, consisting of albums that have been released during 2021.  Oh, and it’s a series that I really want to open to guest contributors who themselves might have some brilliant ideas.

You really shouldn’t be all that surprised to find that The Wedding Present are first up.

It was back in February that Locked Down And Stripped Back was made available.

It’s an album recorded during lock-down in the summer of 2020, with each band member playing, and indeed, filming their parts at home under the restrictions in place at the time.  David Gedge has said that the recording process was far from easy, but ultimately proved to be rewarding.

The album consists of 12 tracks, of which ten are re-recordings of classic Wedding Present tracks of old, along with two completely new songs.  The project began with long time band member Terry De Castro heavily involved, sending her guitar contributions over from her Los Angeles home, before everyone reluctantly accepted how particularly difficult it was to co-ordinate and arrange.  David Gedge then asked an old friend, Jon Stewart, formerly of Sleeper, to come on board.   The finished album has four songs on which Terry plays and eight which feature Jon.

More than that, however, is that Jon Stewart has got involved in the songwriting process, with one of the new songs, You’re Just A Habit That I’m Trying To Break, being credited to Gedge/Stewart/Howard/Hardwick, with Melanie Howard being the bassist/keyboardist/vocalist throughout the project, and Chris Hardwick being the drummer.

The other new song is credited to Wener/MacLure/Stewart.  In other words, it’s a song written by Sleeper, one which was fairly new, being included on This Time Tomorrow, an album released in December 2020.

mp3: The Wedding Present – We Should Be Together

And yup, Louise Wener has come on board for a guest co-vocal, and in doing so, helped to create one of my favourite musical moments of recent years.  This is pop, and perfect pop at that.

As if having the opportunity to hear some wonderful new versions of songs such as A Million Miles, California, Blonde, Crawl, You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends and My Favourite Dress wasn’t a good enough reason to want to pick up a copy of Locked Down And Stripped Back, then surely having the ability to put the needle into the groove of We Should Be Together should be the clincher.

Interestingly, The Wedding Present are not, currently, offering the album via their own website, and instead are encouraging would-be purchasers to do so from a local record shop.

You know the script……………………….



It was back on 22 December 2020 that Middle-Aged Man, in offering up praise for JTFL‘s ICA of opening tracks by Elvis Costello, thought out loud and suggested he was struggling to think of any artists/bands that have released over 10 albums where the first tracks are worthy of inclusion in an ICA.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I offer up the thought that David Gedge, through The Wedding Present and Cinerama, has done so.  And this is without including compilation albums…..


1) Dalliance (Seamonsters, 1991)
2) Maniac (Va Va Voom, 1998)
3) Brassneck (Bizarro, 1989)
4) You’re Dead (Valentina, 2012)
5) 146 Degrees (Disco Valente, 2000)


1) On Ramp/Interstate 5 (Take Fountain, 2005)
2) And When She Was Bad (Torino, 2002)
3) Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft (George Best, 1987)
4) Venus (Saturnalia, 1996)
5) Santa Ana Winds (El Rey, 2008)


David Gedge’s ICA from Opening Tracks: Side A (22:45)
David Gedge’s ICA from Opening Tracks: Side B (22:46)


Play loud and blow away those Monday morning cobwebs.

mp3: The Wedding Present – Kennedy

It entered the Top 40 at #34 on 7 October 1989.   One week later it had rocketed up to #33. It was the first time The Wedding Present cracked the higher(ish) end of the charts as the previous two singles, Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm and Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now? had stalled in the 40s.

It was their first single on a major label and it probably did more than anything else up to this point in time to being the band to the attention of a wider audience.  It was certainly the first record of theirs that I ever bought.

In 2015, David Gedge, having been told by an on-line interviewer that Kennedy had been one of the defining songs of the decade, was asked if was dearth/death of the American Dream? Here’s his full answer:-

I’m not really one for explaining my lyrics. That’s usually because they’re so obvious but ‘Kennedy’ is different from my usual style. It’s a lot more vague, for one thing. I wrote it after reading about the Kennedy assassination and the theories about mafia and CIA involvement… so draw your own conclusions!

Three tracks on the b-side of the 12″ – these have also been ripped at 320kpbs.  The middle of them is particularly good, while the last of them is a cover, one of a substantial number that Gedge has recorded over the years, either with TWP or under the banner of Cinerama.

mp3: The Wedding Present – One Day This Will All Be Yours
mp3: The Wedding Present – Unfaithful
mp3: The Wedding Present – It’s Not Unusual

And remember, I’m more than happy to take requests and/or guest postings for this series.



This posting has been in the pipeline for a while and I ended up pushing it back a couple of weeks as it makes for a neat postscript to Steve’s guest post on The Graveyard Shift.

I think it is fair to say that Marc Riley‘s departure from The Fall, and his subsequent success as a performer and broadcaster, got under the skin of Mark E Smith.

These are the words of Riley, in an interview given to an on-line publication back in 2013:-

And I think part and parcel of it is that if anyone left The Fall he wanted them to sink without trace, as if to say, ‘Without me they’re nothing.’ His contempt for musicians is well known….

So what rankled Mark more and more was that I just wouldn’t go away, even to the extent that one day he was driving to the train station and there was a massive billboard with Mark Radcliffe and I on it… it probably made him want to drive his car straight into the canal, because there’s this bloke from his past who just won’t go away. But I’m not a thorn in his side, he’s got a lot going on in his life, and he’s a very clever bloke, but he does say things for effect. But me and him had ding dongs in the press, and it was just so childish it was untrue, and we wrote songs about each other. I wrote ‘Jumper Clown’ and he wrote ‘Hey Marc Riley’ and ‘C.R.E.E.P.’, and so on. It was daft, really.

Jumper Clown was the second 45 to be released by Marc Riley after he left The Fall. It came out in 1983 and the tune, or a version of it, had originally been part of the setlists of live gigs by his old band in 1979. It was an untitled instrumental and the band never got round to recording a studio version. His version was recorded with a group of mates who would later become known as The Creepers, with the title very much aimed at Smith’s consistently disheveled appearance (this was all prior to Brix appearing on the scene and smartening him up)

mp3: Marc Riley – Jumper Clown

Hey! Marc Riley was another song that The Fall would incorporate into their live sets in 1984/85 but again, it wouldn’t be one that would ever seemingly have been recorded in the studio. It would take until 2007 before anything other than bootleg copies were available, thanks to a live version, recorded at Oskars’ Cornhusker, Azusa, California on 23 May 1985, was included in a Box Set.

Four years later, an omnibus edition of This Nation’s Saving Grace which also included rough mixes, outtakes and other newly discovered recordings from the era, offered up two versions of a song whose title had been shortened

mp3: The Fall – Ma Riley (rough mix)
mp3: The Fall – Ma Riley

It has since been revealed that the studio version, which was produced by John Leckie, had been considered as a possible b-side to Cruiser’s Creek.

The Wedding Present offered up a kind of surf/TWP hybrid of The Creepers song as a b-side to It’s A Gas, released in 1994

mp3: The Wedding Present – Jumper Clown



It was turning into a dull and routine Friday at work in mid-November, counting down the hours till the freedom of the weekend arrived, when this text from Aldo flashed up on the phone:-

“You going to the Weddoes tonight? Only just noticed they were playing.”

I too, hadn’t picked up they were in town, despite the fact it had been included within a couple of previous e-mails sent out to everybody of the TWP/Cinerama mailing lists. Luckily, there were a small number of tickets still available and six hours later, along with Mrs Villain, the three of us made our way inside The Classic Grand, a former porn cinema long ago converted into a music venue.

The band were on tour for the 30th anniversary of Bizarro and the promise was that the songs from that album would be aired alongside some other old favourities and a few new songs. The venue was mobbed….Aldo at the age of 39 was within the 3% minority of those aged under 45. I caught up with a few old friends who I had an inkling would be there, including Robert and Carlo from the Simply Thrilled Team, and Drew from Across the Kitchen Table fame, who was there with his other half, L.

You only need to take a glance at the set-list to see the sort of night we were treated to:-

Don’t Give Up Without a Fight
Click Click
Don’t Touch That Dial
Deer Caught in the Headlights
A Song From Under the Floorboards
What Have I Said Now?
Be Honest
Take Me!

California was a lovely way to open the night, but the place truly erupted with the opening notes of the song which opens Bizarro:-

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Brassneck

It is still hard to believe that the band weren’t entirely happy with the way the song had turned out after their initial stint in the studio, but then again, as I’ve only recently discovered from reading published and on-line material, the band were, certainly in the early days, just about consistently critical of the recorded versions of their songs, taking the view that they lacked a certain energy or excitement in comparison to how they were played live.

Kennedy had been the only single lifted from the album and while it had taken the band into the Top 40, its peak of #33 had been a bit disappointing to RCA, the major label to which the band had recently signed. There was always a wish to have a second single but the band persuaded all concerned that everyone’s interests would be better served if they could go back into the studio and have another go at Brassneck, this time with the irrepressible Steve Albini in the producer’s chair (albeit his preference is to be referred to as the audio engineer).

He trimmed down the track by about thirty seconds while beefing up, (to put it mildly), the arrangement with a few of his specialities including what many have referred to as the sound of a distressed beached whale during an instrumental break (something he would make huge use of later on when he worked with the band on Seamonsters (1991).

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Brassneck (single version)

This one went Top 30…..an improvement on last time out but still a bit too low for the liking of the bosses. The continued failure of the band to really make a dent in the charts led to the situation in 1992 when the band released a single on the first Monday of each month, only to have it deleted within a matter of days, meaning there would be enough sales to propel the 45 into the charts for one week only – it was something of a mixed success but it did lead to Come Play With Me giving them their one and only Top 10 success in May 1992.

The relative success of Brassneck did, however, provide the band their first ever appearance on Top of The Pops. It wasn’t the most memorable of performances, explained in later years by David Gedge:-

“I wasn’t pissed off and I was just following an old tradition established by some of my heroes… those punk bands who didn’t take Top Of The Pops seriously and who took the mickey out of the whole ‘miming’ thing. I started doing it during the TV rehearsals, fully expecting a producer or director to tell me to stop messing about but no one did. So with each run-through it became a little more… extreme. The Brassneck video was the inspiration for the Top Of The Pops performance, actually, with the band looking bored and oblivious to the frantic, theatrical performance art going on around us. The two things aren’t that dissimilar…”

The re-recorded single was released on 7”, 12”, cassette and CD, with another three tracks on offer, all recorded with Albini on engineering duties:-

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Don’t Talk Just Kiss
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Gone
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Box Elder

The first two are Gedge originals, while the last of them is a cover of an early Pavement song, with all of them featuring heavily over the years in any lists of favourite songs drawn up by TWP fans.

Brassneck itself is one of the best and most enduring numbers the band ever recorded, as epitomised by its reception that evening in Glasgow  – only the cheers after Kennedy and Take Me! were louder, and the latter was mostly to do with it signifying the end of the show as TWP, for those who don’t know, never do encores…..

It’s a song that shouldn’t really be mucked about with, but fair play to Mr Gedge in that he selected it as one that should be given the this treatment for a one-off live set he performed in 2009 with the BBC Big Band. Click here if you dare…..



The Wedding Present released 29 singles and 3 EPs between 1985 and 1997. Today looks back at where it all started and my words below rely very heavily on an interview given by David Gedge to the folk involved with this wonderful piece of the internet


It was 1985 and The Wedding Present were in a position to release a debut single. The choice came down to either Go Out and Get ‘Em Boy or Will You Up There. No worries if you don’t recognise the latter, it never got an official release!

The debut single turned out to be quite unlike almost all that would follow. One of the surprising things is that it was a deliberate effort by David Gedge to compose a political song, in this instance as his response to the Falklands conflict of the early 80s which had already inspired Elvis Costello to compose Shipbuilding. I genuinely had no idea about the intention behind the lyric, even though I had seen the words on paper before, assuming that it was another of the tangled lovelorn songs at which he frontman would become famed for over the ensuing decades. David Gedge does admit that the message is a little unfocussed and it’s an approach to song writing that he soon moved away from.

You were a survivor after all; you never even called!
I didn’t expect you to
Now, oh, there’s such a lot you’ve done and you’re only twenty-one
Yes, you’re only twenty-one

Oh, oh, there’s just something, something I noticed
That there’s a whole world out there but it’s shrinking fast
You want to take it all and make it last forever
Or maybe just a lifetime

Now, oh, you’ve gone to fly the flag from some pinprick on the map
Oh, won’t you ever bring it back?
Tonight, when you hold her in your arms and you prove that you’re a man
Oh, well, I hope she understands

Oh, oh, there’s just something, something I noticed
That there’s a whole world out there but it’s shrinking fast
You want to take it all and make it last forever
Or maybe just a lifetime, maybe just a lifetime

Oh, some things just don’t ever go away
Some things, you know, are just here to stay
And in a golden field there is a little girl left with a union jack
And there’s a price to pay, no matter what you say
There is no going back today

And if we’re worlds apart, then I’ve still got a heart
Can you imagine that?
“Another wasted day”, yes, I can hear you say
But I’m afraid it means much more to me than that

There’s also an admission that the music, with an unusual structure and multiple parts, was a tad on the ambitious side, but the defence being that nobody was sure if the first single would prove to be the last, so everyone involved wanted to pack it full of hooks while having a frantic pace that grabbed the listeners attention.

The single came out on Reception Records on 24 May 1985 (slap bang in the middle of my final exams at university, so I can be excused for not paying attention!). The label had been set-up by the band, solely with the intention of getting the single out there and into the shops. Just 500 copies were pressed, but such was the demand that they soon agreed a deal with City Slang, a new label that had been established by NME writer, Neil Taylor who was an early champion of The Weddoes. The second pressing of the single came with different artwork, the results of which had the band recoiling in horror, and determined not to cede control over such things ever again.

The second pressing also sold out quickly and by now the band were getting aired increasingly by John Peel. Rather than have fans shell out huge sums on the second-hand market or more likely relying on copies recorded to a hissy cassette tape, it was decided that all of the songs that comprised the first two singles should be put on a new EP, via Reception Records, which is why most folk (including myself) who have vinyl cuts of the song have achieved it through the Don’t Try and Stop Me, Mother EP.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Go Out and Get ‘Em Boy!
mp3 : The Wedding Present – (The Moment Before) Everything’s Spoiled Again

I think it’s fair to say that The Weddoes would go on to make better and more polished singles, but as an opener, particularly as it was wholly self-financed, recorded and released, is worthy of being described as cracking.



…..not than any was really needed.

The Wedding Present had signed to RCA in 1989, a move that led to some fans from the earliest days accuse them of selling out and leaving behind their indie roots. The first album for the new label was Bizarro and the first single lifted from it was Kennedy, the track that I have long admitted was the one that introduced me to the band thanks to it being heard in an Edinburgh record shop.

In February 1990, a full four months after Kennedy had dropped out of the charts after a three-week stay, a second single was taken from the parent album. Only it wasn’t……

The new single, Brassneck, was the opening track on Bizarro, but the version which came out as a single was quite different. David Gedge, in an on-line interview with a fan, has explained the rationale:-

I personally didn’t think that the album version captured the intensity the song had when we played it live. I don’t think the Bizarro version is bad, or anything… but around that time we’d become interested in the idea of working with the American engineer, Steve Albini, and so there was a feeling that perhaps we could re-record it with him as a way of seeing how an Albini / Wedding Present relationship might work. I think the Albini version of Brassneck added more colour and depth… and sounds more succinct than the Bizarro version.

The other noticeable thing is a change in the lyric right at the end of the song. It’s only one word, but it is significant in terms of the sentiment of the song. The chorus throughout the album version has ‘I just decided I don’t trust you anymore’ and this is sung four times. On the single, it is only sung three times with the final time now being ‘I just decided I don’t love you anymore.’ David Gedge believed that the alteration added poignancy, and who are we to argue?

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Brassneck (single version)

The 12″ came with three new tracks, two of which were original compositions while the other was a cover of a little-known American band called Pavement. But then again, you already knew that if you read yesterday’s posting:-

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Box Elder
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Don’t Talk, Just Kiss
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Gone

All four songs remain firm favourites with fans more than quarter-of-a-century on.

Brassneck reached #24 in the singles chart and, outside of the run of singles released in a limited edition each month throughout 1992, remains the highest chart position of any 45 by the band.



I’ve said before that I didn’t really latch on properly to The Wedding Present until I heard Kennedy being played ay high volume in a record shop. But after that, it was enjoyable going back and listening to the earlier material.

I really liked the song Getting Nowhere Fast, one of their previous b-sides on a 12″ single and included on the CD of George Best, and was intrigued when I spotted, from the fact that it wasn’t a David Gedge composition, that it was a cover version. But the names ‘Alan, Evans, Swift, Oldroyd’ meant nothing to me and in the pre-internet days couldn’t readily be looked up.

It was to be some time before I learned that the original had been by a Leeds band called Girls At Our Best, released in 1980. Even when furnished with that information, I was still none the wiser. Eventually I got to hear the original, via someone putting it on a cassette for me, and fell for its charms. By this time however, it was impossible to track down a copy and it would take until the digital age before I got a decent version without any lo-fi hissing.

Girls At Our Best were Judy Evans (vocals), Jez Alan (guitar), Terry Swift (bass) and Chris Oldroyd (drums) and who formed in 1979 out of two other Leeds bands, S.O.S and The Butterflies.

Getting Nowhere Fast was their debut effort, self-financed and released in April 1980 on their own label Record Records following which Rough Trade put out a second single entitled Politics in November 1980. The drummer then left the band just as they signed to Happy Birthday Records for whom there were two singles and an album, Pleasure, in 1981. The band had enough of a following for the album to reach #60 in the charts but I just can’t recall it or them at all.

According to my big book of indie songs, there was a further single in May 1982 entitled Heaven and released on God Records but there’s no listing on Discogs which means it must be very rare indeed. The band split not long after but with interest in them again on the back of the TWP cover, Strange Fruit in May 1987 would release a Peel Sessions EP that had been broadcast in February 1981.

Here’s the two sides of the debut single:-

mp3 : Girls At Our Best – Getting Nowhere Fast
mp3 : Girls At Our Best – Warm Girls

And here’s the cover, originally on the b-side of the 12″ of Anyone Can Make A Mistake:-

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Getting Nowhere Fast




JC writes….

On the day that so many people will meet up for the first ever time it does somehow seem appropriate to feature a guest contribution from one of the number.

Strangeways, like so many of the blogging fraternity, is someone who prefers to hide his light under a bushel. It takes all sorts of arm-twisting and gentle persuasion to get some words and thoughts out of him and I’m really pleased he has given me something so unusual and perhaps provocative just in time for this special and historic day; a post and concept that might well be worth talking about over the weekend….I think just about everyone coming along is a TWP/Gedge fanatic.

Strangways muses…..

Going, Going... is The Wedding Present‘s new – well, latest (Sep 2016) – LP. And weighing in at twenty tracks, it’s a monster.

For Weddoes nuts, the record delivers some absolutely scorching songs. To these ears, phantoms from both the Seamonsters and Saturnalia albums inhabit a fair chunk of the album and there are some massive, thrilling barrages of ‘go fuck yourself’ guitar throughout.

On that musical side, for the most part, it’s hard to imagine a bigger, noisier landscape than when the ‘loud’ component of the trusted ‘quiet/loud/quiet’ blueprint kicks in (check out Wales, with its remote, staccato first half and, in a happy case of influences returning home, its epic, emotional, sock-knocking British Sea Power-ish second). But that the entire thing opens with four curveballs – a quartet of instrumentals/spoken word tracks (special mention to the elegant and otherworldly Marblehead) – indicates that for at least a time we’re in entirely new territory.

I know of some Weddoes sympathisers – think by-election-only Green Party voters – who have been a bit scared off by the number of tracks and, perhaps, also by rumours of those left-turns that open the record. So if you’ve not heard the LP, here are four tracks to give you a taste.


Elevated by some really terrific female vocals – a welcome thread running through Going, Going… – Bells is a standout. Creeping guitar makes way for one of David Gedge‘s cruellest choruses – and am I finally losing it or is there something of The Cure‘s Lovesong going on in the music?


In another world – perhaps even in the recent past on this planet – Rachel, with its classic, killer chorus, would be the Weddoes’ Losing My Religion or Smells Like Teen Spirit. You know the song, the kind of track that makes it, somehow, beyond the borders of the bedroom and the indie disco. The one that mugs you when you’re buying corn flakes. The one that you fell, hopelessly, in love with.

But that was two months and 15,000 involuntary listens ago.

And now you can’t stand it. Anonymously, you send it foul messages in the post. And it’s compelled you to set up a hate group.

Well, with the demise of the single as ‘an actual thing’, at least that won’t happen this time.


It took a while for Emporia to grab me. But when it did, it didn’t let go. Don’t let the really lovely, David Lynchy opening fool you. This is a song of two halves in the tradition of say Bewitched or Perfect Blue (and like Perfect Blue, I wish the generously long tail-end was even longer).

Santa Monica

The perfect closer. A lengthy fade-in recalls Seamonsters’ Blonde, whilst, underlining the sense of something ending, a pensive fade-out is reminiscent of Mystery Date from predecessor LP Valentina and also 50s, the track that slowly, reluctantly snuffed out the 2006 Saturnalia album.

Santa Monica is tinted, also, by shades of Cinerama‘s Don’t Touch That Dial and the Weddoes’ Octopussy (a fellow LP-swansong). It matches the scale of Dalliance, whilst the trickling, bending guitar work reminds me of one of the band’s most charismatic numbers: Catwoman. Listen out, also, for a line-check from A Million Miles. It’s a poignant thirty-year echo connecting this latest album with the (touring-this-year) debut, George Best.

Going, Going’s… ominous title coupled with its last line may suggest that the game is up. On this evidence, that would be a shame. It’s one thing for a band that’s all out of ideas to call it quits. Quite another when it fires out an LP that can stand alongside the best of a formidable back catalogue.

Imagining Emporia…

Just to overdo things further, I thought it’d be interesting to grab half of the LP tracks and attempt to staple together a traditional ten-track album.

This is kind of an obnoxious thing to do – especially if you’re aware of the idea at the heart of Going Going… – that each track is linked, and that together, they contribute to a bigger story. It’s a bit like chopping up celluloid and gluing the strips into an under-the-counter Viewer’s Cut. Replacing the lovely sleeve (a shot from the thoughtful series of short films the band commissioned)? More blasphemy. And renaming it? Well, that’s just asking for trouble. Therefore, for those piqued enough to muck around with their LP or Spotify, here it is: Emporia – an imaginary version of a real album.


Two Bridges
Little Silver
Broken Bow


Santa Monica

Bonus track: Marblehead because the third season of Twin Peaks is approaching, and this sounds like it could be on the soundtrack.




In 1992, The Wedding Present had set a then record for the number of chart appearances in a calendar year by releasing a new single on the first Monday of each month. As soon as December 1992 was out of the way the band announced that they were parting ways with RCA Records and taking much of 1993 off.

In early 1994 it was revealed that the new label would be Island Records but that original bass player Keith Gregory had left the line-up meaning that David Gedge was now the sole member left from the original line-up. They decamped to the USA to record the new material for the new label with the first release being this 4-track single in September 1994:-

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Le Bikini
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Flame On
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Him Or Me (What’s It Gonna Be)?

I think it was a major disappointment that the single stalled at #51; indeed the follow-up It’s A Gas fared even worse while the parent album Watusi barely broke the Top 50. These turned out to be the only recordings for Island Records who dropped the band in early 1995.

Looking back, the world wasn’t quite prepared for the sounds made on Watusi. As wiki reports, the songs ranged from warm lo-fi pop (“Gazebo”, “Big Rat”) to semi-psychedelic, Velvets-like workouts (“Click Click”, “Catwoman”). There were also the two fantastic pop singles released as 45s which really deserved better.

Worth mentioning that while the TWP song Flame On is different from that of Captain America featured here three days ago, Him Or Me (What’s It Going To Be)? is a cover of a 1966 hit single (#5 on the US Billboard chart) by Paul Revere & The Raiders.

Have a listen to the original and compare.  TWP make their version so different it sounds like one of their own.

mp3 : Paul Revere & The Raiders – Him or Me (What’s It Gonna Be)?





(and again on 30 October 2013)


I came late to The Wedding Present.

I didn’t listen to their early stuff simply because everyone in the press was touting them as the natural successors to the recently disbanded The Smiths, and I just didn’t want to know. I was able to do so, simply because the band got next to no radio play other than late at night, and this was a period of great change in my life when I was never listening to the likes of John Peel.

So, for the best part of four years, my knowledge of the band was restricted to what I read and not what I heard. I do remember being amused that a band from Leeds would release an LP named after the greatest footballer ever to wear the shirt of Manchester United, given the animosity between their fans and those of Leeds United. Still didn’t make me buy it though..

Sometime in 1989, on one Sunday evening, the radio was on as the latest singles chart was being rundown. That was when I first heard a song by The Wedding Present. It was called Kennedy, and it was (as I’ve since discovered from research) a new entry at #33. It was loud, it was frantic, it was joyous and it was something that I immediately fell in love with.

And with that, I became a convert to the church of David Gedge, and I’ve been a faithful member ever since. I’m a regular attendee at the places of worship (ie gigs), and I’ll also contribute as and when required to the coffers (ie records, t-shirts, videos, CDs, etc).

There can’t be all that many indie-bands still going strong 20+ years after their initial formation. OK, so I know that TWP took a short break and turned into Cinerama, and also that for a substantial part of their career they were on major labels such as RCA and Island Records. But you can’t really categorise them as anything other than indie…

There have been 37 singles and 9 original LPs, as well as 15 compilation/live LPs over the years. That must be something in the region of 300 songs – and very few of these, even the most obscure of b-sides, have ever been total duffers.(that was the figure back in 2008….there’s been much to admire over the past 8 years since and the ststement is still valid)

They’re also a band with a love for cover versions, with around 50 or so being widely available now thanks to the relatively recent release of all the Peel Sessions in a boxset. And every one of those covers, whether it’s a pop, soul, blues, rock, country or disco classic sounds instinctively like a Wedding Present original.

But I still don’t think they’ve ever bettered the song that first made my ears prick up and listen. Even now, almost 20 years on it remains a live favourite, although David now always follows it up with a slow-tempo number so that the old folk jumping around down the front get their breath back and avoid the risk of a permanent injury. None of us are as young or fit as we once were, and pogo-ing up and down is, at best, achievable for a maximum of 5 minutes at one stretch.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Kennedy
mp3 : The Wedding Present – One Day All This Will All Be Yours
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Unfaithful
mp3 : The Wedding Present – It’s Not Unusual *

* Yes, the Tom Jones song…..

All taken from the original 12” release, but also available on the remixed and remastered edition of the 1989 LP Bizzaro.

Incidentally, if this series didn’t have the restriction of one song by one act, there would have been at least another 4 TWP singles right in there…



…..than David Gedge when it comes to penning stuff about relationships.

Whether its been with The Wedding Present or Cinerama or The Wedding Present once again, David has written and recorded umpteen (that’s a word I like to use when I don’t know the precise number) songs of quality and distinction about meeting someone, falling for someone, being with someone, wanting someone who is unattainable, and most of all…..how you feel about someone after the love has gone.

He’s written songs from all sorts of perspectives – as someone who is angry, hurt, sad, bemused and even relieved that a relationship has run its course.

But mostly its songs by someone with a broken heart.

Now I daren’t think that all of the songs are autobiographical – if they are, his heart must be in billions of pieces by now. The most amazing thing is that the accompanying tunes never fall into the category of maudlin or dirge-like.

I’ve a mate who once said, “You know, The Wedding Present have only one tune…..but it’s a fucking cracking one at that”

My mate of course had her tongue firmly in her cheek, for there is no argument that David Gedge has proven himself as one of the UK’s best ever word AND tunesmiths.

Here’s one of my favourite examples:-

I heard another voice this morning on the ‘phone
But just the other day I thought you said you slept alone

And yes I knew that laughter, okay, now I see
You wouldn’t even know him if it hadn’t been for me

Sometimes in the fading light
I can’t help thinking back to, well, the way we were

Then I start feeling guilty lying next to her
I know, and it can’t be right

Pretending that it’s you.
You still won’t go away
Pretending that it’s you.
You still won’t go away

If you write again perhaps you shouldn’t send it here
It’s just that I don’t really want your letters to appear

Oh no, I just think she might
Forget I ever said that I’m just being scared

I told her all about you and I don’t think she even cared
I know but it’s not alright

Pretending that it’s you.
You still won’t go away
Pretending that it’s you.
You still won’t go away

And does the thought of leaving him brings you to tears?
I bet you never felt the same about me all those years

Well you know, just what it’s like

Pretending that it’s you.
You still won’t go away
Pretending that it’s you.
You still won’t go away

And then there’s the unnerving and unsettling music that never quite finds a steady rhythm or beat thanks to its constant change in volume and tempo.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Lovenest

And while I’m here, I may as well let you have a listen to the other three songs which are on the 12” version of this single:-

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Mothers
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Dan Dare
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Fleshworld

As with just about every single the band released around that period in time, there was an unusual choice of song for a cover version. In this case it was Mothers which was originally by Jean Paul Sartre Experience, a rather obscure (to most folk) new wave band from New Zealand.



Today sees the second and final part of the look back at A Different Kind of Tension, the 10-track compilation released in 1986. Here’s the b-side of the album:-

1. The Beloved – A Hundred Words
2. Vee VV – The Romance Is Over
3. Stump – Kitchen Table
4. The Wedding Present – Once More
5. The Shamen – Happy Days

The Beloved, in their dance guise, were featured a couple of months back. It’s hard to believe that it is the same band who would go onto enjoy such massive success with the club crowds in the early 90s. But before they were embraced by the dance brigade, The Beloved were just another indie-pop guitar band. This is actually their debut single from April 1986 on Flim Flam Records which made #15 in the UK Indie Chart (which I’m guessing amounted to about 5,000 sales).

mp3 : The Beloved – A Hundred Words

The next lot needed a bit of detective work on the t’internet. They emerged from the ashes of a band called Tunnelvision who released one single, entitled Watching The Hydroplanes, on Factory Records in 1981. And no, I can’t say I’ve ever heard it. They seem to have been an act signed on a whim by Tony Wilson after they appeared on the bill at the first ever New Order gig in Blackpool. Anyway, it seems they were a band that were continually slated by the music press and continually compared to Joy Division.

Members of Tunnelvision would, in due course, form Vee VV. The band recorded a flexi single for a music magazine before releasing a double-side 7″ single on Cathexis Records  and the track featured today was part of that artefact. A second 12″ single soon followed and Vee VV gained some exposure through support slots for My Bloody Valentine, Stone Roses and the afore-mentioned New Order. But before long they had broken up unwilling to embrace Madchester.

mp3 : Vee VV – The Romance Is Over

Stump were an Anglo-Irish band that featured former members of Microdisney.

This is the only track of the ten on the compilation that hadn’t been released at the time, although it would eventually appear on the Quirk Out mini-LP that came out in late 1986 on Stuff Records. The band would gain enough fame to be featured on the covers of both the NME and Melody Maker, and there was enough of a buzz about them that they eventually inked a deal with Ensign Records who released the LP A Fierce Pancake in 1988, from which the single Charlton Heston reached #72 in the UK singles charts. But the album did not bring the crossover success the label had hoped for and, after recording a few b-sides and some demos, they split before 1989 was over.

mp3 : Stump – Kitchen Table

Ah….the wonderful Weddoes. This was a very early single from 1986. ‘Nuff said.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Once More

The final track on the compilation is technically, the first ever single by The Shamen, released on One Big Guitar in 1985. The band had changed their name from Alone Again Or and moved to a different record label after just two singles. Frontman Colin Angus was one of the first to realise that indie-pop didn’t guarantee fame and fortune, and by mid-1988 the band was down to a two-piece who were more focused on dance. Four years later they were among the biggest acts in the UK with a string of chart hits including the unforgettable (not necessarily in a positive way!!) Ebeneezer Goode which was #1 for a number of weeks in August 1992.

By the mid-late 90s, the band had turned their backs on commercial soundimg dance music and frustrating the life out of their record label bosses at One Little Indian. The Shamen called it a day in 1999, but will be remembered fondly by a great many clubbers of a certain generation. However, they would be hard pushed to recognise this as one of their songs:-

mp3 : The Shamen – Happy Days

And that concludes the look back at the songs of 1986 for this series at least. Tune in next week for something going back even further in time….