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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Smiths' only rivals?,
David Gedge may have lacked the looks, charisma and downright strangeness of Morrissey but, for a time, his band The Wedding Present were The Smiths only serious rivals for the title of 'Kings of Bedsit Land.' Identifiably Northern, in the same way as Morrissey and Co, Gedge's flat singing and the hundred-mile-an-hour guitars mitigated against a broader appeal. That said, this album remains a classic of its kind, its kind being frantic, jangly, mid-80s indie pop.
Gedge could also turn a witty phrase or two. How about "At home she tells him little lies/Like onions always make her cry" or my favourite "You're not like anyone I've ever met....well, at least not yet." Twelve words that chart the trajectory of a love affair from initial starry-eyed romance to inevitable disappointment. "Ooh, he sounds like a right bastard!" said my then-girlfriend, with rather too much relish in her voice.
'Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft' will have you whistling its infectious tune a few bars in, 'A Million Miles' recalls the teenage excitement of meeting a new love at a party, and the sickening sadness of "Slowly your beauty is eaten away/By the scent of someone else, in the blankets where we lay" is the stand-out line from 'My Favourite Dress.'
On a more personal note, I also love it because someone with my name gets to play the cad in 'Give My Love To Kevin!'
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic album,
The Wedding Present are a bit of an acquired taste, although it's an effort well worth making. This album, their first, consists of fairly simple noisy guitar riffs accompanying David Gedge's brilliantly simple and bitter lyrics about awkward snogs and heartless girlfriends.
There are some real classics here, although the album as a whole is quite an effort to get through for the beginner, more so because of the addition of nine extra songs at the end. These are worth the effort though, with old favourites Nobody's Twisting Your Arm and I'm Not Always So Stupid instantly likeable tunes; the highlight, however, is the French translation of Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now - get that accent!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Weddoes at their heart-rending,guitar thrashing best!,
Gedge is god.Or so I've seen it written in more than one internet chat room.The charismatic,angst ridden founder and leader of one of the best indie bands of the late 80's/early 90/s,certainly had some sort of divine inspiration when he penned this masterpiece.Every song is a tale of heartache,loss and longing that every adolescent can equate to.I know I did! Like songs with Gedge's ironic humour in the opening "Everyone thinks he looks daft" and "Give my love to Kevin" to the cynical third person look at broken relationships such as "Don't be so hard" there is a parallel that everone who takes the time to listen to this CD will recognize. But it's not just the lyrics to make the listener sit up and take note.Some of Gedge's vocal melodies are sublime,mixing well with Peter Solowka's thousand mile an hour guitar riffs and Keith Gregory's pounding bass lines. The Wedding Present were under-rated and under-achievers at a time when indie music was largely ignored by the music industry.This CD was a benchmark for the post-Smiths generation and should be given a chance if only for the classic "My Favourite Dress"
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The alternative to the alternative!,
When I look back on the late eighties it seemed to me that most of my "alternative" peers were into nothing else but the Smiths. Strangely, they weren't my cup of tea and I gravitated more toward the jingly angst-ridden vocals of the Wedding Present. Each song tells a story. Whether it be your ex copping off with somebody else (My Favourite Dress), your (female) mate having a bit of hassle with her arsehole boyfriend (Shatner) or merely the nightclub pursual of a young lady you've had your eye on for a while (A Million Miles) each song relates to some experience you've probably had sometime in your youth and beyond. While the Smiths spoke to the more pensive and whingey of my gloomy friends, I looked towards Dave Gedge and the boys for moral support and sympathy...and wore out the grooves on my vinyl copy.
A classic album, easily their best and now the expanded CD has the extra tracks that I previously desperately sought after on vinyl in Manchester's Piccadilly Records or Vinyl Exchange and never found. Nobody's Twisting Your Arm, Pourquoi est tu devenu si raisonable... Will the Ukranian folk songs be re-released now too? And what about Tommy?
Marvellous stuff. Even if all the songs do sound the same!! Well worth buying if you're into the Smiths years after the event - see what they were up against!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic "jingly-jangly" indie-pop album, from 1987...,
This was very much the Wedding Present in phase one of their career, fusing a C-86 style of indie-pop with references to the Undertones, the less-abrasive side of the Fall and, of course, the world of The Smiths. Later, they would tackle a more dissonant sound with albums like Bizarro and their masterpiece Seamonsters, which took the template of the great guitar-pop found here, but combined it with a more rigid and distorted sound that seemed to point more towards U.S. rock bands like Pavement, Sonic Youth and The Pixies.
George Best remains a great debut album and is probably the best place to start, allowing the listener to discover that classic 'Wedding Present' sound before the more adventurous music that would follow. The sound here is very mid-80's style indie, with the guitars chiming away in various layers of harmony, backed by a rhythmic percussion and a warm, fuzzy bass. The songs are topped off by singer/songwriter David Gedge's dry, northern vocals, which give a further degree of honesty to those lovesick, confessional lyrics. The album opens with the perfect guitar pop of Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft, which has a frantic acoustic melody and inter-weaving boy/girl vocals from Gedge and Amelia Fletcher, which really set this apart as a great track to open with. The lyrics are fantastic and give us a fair example of the conversational style that Gedge would perfect throughout subsequent Wedding Present albums, and also with his later band Cinerama, with the opening lyric "oh why do you catch my eye and then turn away" fitting in nicely alongside the musical integration of the acoustic and electric guitar. The song is one of the highlights, not just of this album, but also of Gedge's career as a whole, and gives us a definite idea of what to expect, stylistically, from the rest of the LP.
Throughout the album Gedge and his band mates (here comprising of Peter Solowka on lead guitar, Keith Gregory on bass, Shaun Charman on drums and backing vocals, with additional drums on the bonus tracks by Simon Smith) setting lovesick confessionals to that classic 80's indie style in a way that's not too dissimilar to Britpop acts like Blur and Pulp (with fellow Yorkshire man Jarvis possessing a similar lyrical style to Gedge and a similar fondness for simple chord structures and sweet melodies) making this album more of a precursor to His N' Hers or Different Class (though without the electro-pop references) than a mere sequel to The Queen Is Dead.
The real standouts of the original 14-track album (now expanded to 23-tracks through the inclusion of the Nobodies Twisting Your Arm and Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now? EP's), besides that great opening, include the storming one and a half-minutes of Getting Nowhere Fast (predating the punk-rock thrash of Bizarro), the wilting confessional Give My Love To Kevin, Anyone Can Make A Mistake, the caustic What Did Your Last Servant Die OF and the great indie anthem Shatner (a song that employs a pop melody to mask lyrics that perhaps reference domestic abuse). The whole album works wonderfully though, capturing a mood and creating an atmosphere that the band manages to keep up from start to finish. Listening to the album now over a decade after it was first released almost immediately transports you back to a stuffy bedroom circa 87... the kind with football cards pinned to the headboard, a page-three cut-out tacked to the wardrobe and a set of bad sixth-form poetry scattered across the desk (a vision of late 80's adolescence from someone who was three at the time... so what do I know?).
Gedge's lyrics have the ability to create that kind of world in the mind of those listening, with his songs here presenting an almost Mike Leigh-style depiction of English youth and misguided lust. He's probably one of the most underrated songwriters this country has produced, especially in terms of so-called indie music (I'd take songs like Give My Love To Kevin, My Favourite Dress, All About Eve and Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now? over anything by the likes of The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys and Oasis). Although the band would go on to produce better, more mature albums, like Bizarro and the excellent and abrasive Seamonsters (and Gedge would go on to write some even more astounding and intelligent pop songs with his later project Cinerama), George Best retains a certain charm and individuality. If you compare the songs here to the kind of indie-music being produced today, there's very little that sounds quite as quaint and affecting as the music here; although that conversational style of vocal and lyric is certainly still being used by the likes of Lily Allen, Kate Nash, Jamie T. and the rest of the BRIT school hopefuls.
George Best is a great debut album from an underrated band and an undervalued songwriter; perfectly capturing that sense of lovesick youth with a sound that is wondrous (if you love jangly 80's style guitar pop you'll love this!!). The overall amount of tracks might be a bit daunting, but it certainly offers values for money, and acts as something of a collector's piece for those who perhaps had the original vinyl/tape/CD edition and are looking for an upgrade. In short, a nice introduction to one of the great cult-acts of the 1980s.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars still catchy,
I love this. I was only eight at the time of it´s release.
Before I picked this up I thought the late eighties was all about Kylie and Jason so I was overjoyed to discover this album by the time I was fifteen.
"Everyone thinks you look daft," is typical of David Gedge and his wistful rants. I love the energy of,"getting nowhere fast," and it´s drum beat. "Give me love to Kevin," is still a great song, I love the skippy guitar. I´m also a huge fan of "nobody´s twisting your arm," another song that I think has effortlessly stood the test of time.
This is a great debut from a fine British band who forged a genuine style for guitar bands in the late eighties. The melodic, fizzing nature of the songs are in evidence right from the very beginning. Here they maybe sound a little bit light weight in comparison to later albums but this is still one of my favourite records.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I am wearing my cardigan and have turnups in my jeans,
This album fizzes along with joy unabounded. Sure there are tears, there is snot left of the sleeve of a favourite jumper. But this album contains the joie de vivre equal to the happiness gained from your first real kiss, sitting in the bus stop after walking your partner toi catch their ride home.
Redolently teenage, embarrassing at times but played with such vigour that it doesnt matter.
A delight and along with Bizarro, one of the few albums I can keep coming back to enjoy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is that a Wedding Present badge you're wearing?,
This sounds wonderful, unwithered by age. From the breathy splendour of Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft to the witty evocation of gawkish first love that is A Million Miles, this recording brings back many fond memories of John Peel Festive Fifties, sweaty mosh-pits and countless carefree capers. All the songs are wondrous indie gems with much darkness lurking behind the wit, riffs and repartee: My Favourite Dress is a compelling, powerful and emotional song about jealousy that always catches the breath while Give My Love To Kevin also resonates with rancour and bitterness directed towards a former lover. This is a splendid album that I am tempted to award `masterpiece' status to, a vibrant independent belter packed to the rafters with passion, melody, intelligence and youthful ebullience. I salute it and shall play it loudly in my motor car on my next excursion. Parp! Parp!
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than being there,
This review is from: Shepherd's Bush Welcomes the Wedding Present (Audio CD)
Every band reforms. Unless they don't need the money in the first place. And even then, the lure of the millions could tempt them. The old band names have a weight and a gravitas : they are assets to be deployed when the allure of the solo project and the spin-off band no longer pulls any weight. Someone makes some phone calls, and the former acrimony is soothed by the promise of a new kitchen to come back and play Brixton Academy.
So.. Is The Wedding Present (2004 version) worth anything? We're not talking Pink Floyd. Or even The Velvet Underground. We're talking an OK selling band that made some pretty good records twenty or so years ago then slowly faded as the inky music weeklies chased the latest fad. But given that the lineup is, in fact, merely a renamed version of the lesser-known Cinerama (David Gedge's post-Wedding Present band) comprising the exact same line up as the final Cinerama gigs, is it really The Wedding Present, or is it a cynical rebranding like Classic Coke?
Well.... It looks, acts, and quacks like a duck, so I suppose it's a duck. On the basis of the music, 72.33 seconds of timeless, could've-been-written-at-anytime guitar, The Wedding Present offer a sort of greatest-hits precis of some of the finest moments of their work and execute the songs with an authentic taste that offers no reinventions or reworkings. Sure, there's some glaring omissions that make clear that The Wedding Present 2005 aren't some mere nostalgia trip : if it was they'd play classics like "Dalliance", "Boing", "Come Up And See Me", "Flying Saucer"and "Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now?" and bafflingly, the best Wedding Present song in years "Interstate 5" is also conspicuous by its absence. The track listing is not designed to produce the comforting haze of time travel of the typical reformed band that now soundtrack middle aged commuting.
But that`s not all. This continuation of The Wedding Present - if you discount the astute/cynical renaming - is sonically an equal of the band in their heyday : this set could have been taken from the comprehensive and marvellous Peel Sessions Box Set for all the progression the band demonstrate. The new songs slot in without an quality gap into the old songs and are their equal : that good, or bad, dependent upon how you feel about the issue.
Their unique formula of grated vocals, which provide an honesty-through-limitations that immediately outpaces the pitch-perfect but anodyne technical mastery of Whitney Houston, when mixed with the Weddoes unique brand of buzz saw guitars and short, stuttered and minimalist riffing, provide what seems to be immediately a thousand times more sincere than any cynical posing, any leather jacket or Art Deco sleeve design can convey. The Wedding Present are masters of the kitchen-sink drama : every song contains a finely observed thumbnail sketch of the emotional temperature of our often mundane lives, underwritten by a quietly bleak humour that throws the lyric into a fierce, painful contrast. And it's a million miles more meaningful to hear an artist strain to articulate his inner monologue rather than read the phone book and make it sound like a pop opera. Of course, anyone whose heard Britney Spears music knows that your life can be a fascinating carcrash, but our music tedious, meaningless escapist drivel. There's more art in the towering crescendo of "Suck" than many artists achieve in their entire lives.
"Shepards Bush Welcomes...." will not send the charts into a frenzy. If anything, it probably will sell respectably to the Weddoes faithful fan base a few thousand copies steadily over a few years until it is quietly deleted. Which is a shame, because the Weddoes were a band that were far more influential than most people could ever realise : like The Pixies, they may not have sold many records, but everyone who bought their records wanted to form a band. And some of those bands now nestle in YOUR record collection. It is a fine live collection from an underappreciated jewel in British music's history.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unbelievableble,
I only got this album 15 years after it came out, being too young in the 80's to notice indie music, but I remember waiting outside my local record shop at 8.30 in the morning before it opened up specifically to buy this album. It's that good!
The lightning fast guitars, the groaning, the lurgy, and lyrics like, "every time a car drives past/ I think it's you, every time somebody laughs/I think it's you." although that's from a bonus track, it still fits the theme of the rest of the album perfectly.
Gedge ya gadge, I salute you!
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