Bizarro was the Weddoes' second proper album (after George Best, they had released Tommy, a compilation of singles and session tracks, and the unlikely Ukrainski Vistupi V Johna Peela, containing two John Peel sessions of acoustic Ukrainian folk tunes). It included the single Kennedy (number 2 in the John Peel Festive 50 that year, one of five songs from the album to be voted in) and the original version of Brassneck, which was to be remade as a single recorded for them by Steve Albini. Each of Wedding Present's albums has a distinct identity although Bizarro retains the blistering guitar of George Best, and David Gedge's lyrics continued to mine the dark pits of romantic and sexual hell and dark despair. The longest track, Take Me!, ends in an extended instrumental section but there is no soloing, just the intense, repeated accompaniment, expressing all the emotion and pent up frustration in noise to trance-like effect. Glorious
I actually bought this album on cassette when it first came out, having heard the band on (I think) a John Peel show. Many years have passed, but still the CD is in my car and the album downloaded onto my iPod for my many business trips abroad.
I can't really put my finger on what it is about this album that makes me want to keep playing it but many, many albums have come and gone since I originally bought this one, some of which I thought I would never tire of, and yet Bizarro is still top of the pile.
From the opening intro' of "Brassneck", through the haunting lyrics of "What Have I Said Now?" to the near seven-minute guitar-led instrumental of "Take Me", every track seems to be so strong and nothing carries that over-produced sound so common nowadays. In saying that my favourite track is "Unfaithful", one of the extras on this version of the album, which carries some of Dave Gedges trademark cutting lyrics so common throughout Wedding Present tunes.
Ok, so Martin Stephenson and the Daintee's "Boat to Bolivia" comes close, but for me Bizarro is THE album I want to grow old with and as I happily enter middle-age it is still hitting the spot. My kids love it, I love it and my wife even likes a couple of tracks - proof positive if it is ever needed.
I tell you, I'll be dancing around the residential home to this in twenty-odd years time!
Having heard a few WP tracks on 80s compilations I took a punt when I saw this for sale for £3 on Amazon (MP3 download). How did I miss this band back in the day?! I know Peelie was a big fan, and I was a fan of Peelie. NME loved them, and I loved NME. But somehow I never got into them. Big mistake!
If Morrissey was the guy that never had a girl and sang songs of wistful regret, Gedge was the guy that had a girl and either f*ed it up or got f*ed over and sang songs of anger, spite and recrimination.
The production is early 80s jangly post-punk but with oddly subdued vocals, making some of the lyrics almost decipherable. Brassneck (the opener) and Kennedy were both singles at the time, I believe, and are strong tracks. But the killer for me (and I do so love an over-long pop song - see Spectral Mornings by Cornershop, Us v Them by LCD Soundsystem or even Won't Get Fooled Again by The Who) is "Take Me" - a 9-minute epic that sounds like it was recorded in a single take with the whole band playing "live" - none of those fancy studio over-dubs, edits or people sitting in soundproof booths playing their instrument while listening to the beat through headphones. Okay, I know nothing of musicianship or recording techniques but that's what it sounds like - and it's wonderful!
If anything, the album is too long with all the extra tracks. Nice to have but I don't feel they add a great deal to the original 10-track album. But tracks 1-10 are the perfect early 80s guitar-pop album: come in, smash the place up for 45 minutes, leave with the booze from your parents' sideboard. Recommended.
On the strngth of this I came back for "Seamonsters" - not as immediate, but it's growing on me. I'll be back for "George Best" just as soon as Amazon drops the price!
The original album (i.e. tracks 1-10 on this one) remains a personal all-time no. 1 (even though my wife thinks it sounds like a badly-tuned modem), with blistering volleys of rich sounds, matchless lyrics and some tuneful quieter moments. The additional tracks include some great tracks too, although the overall effect may be quite hard work for a first-time listener. Program your CD to play the first 10, turn it up loud, stick with it, and you will be richly rewarded.
This great record sits comfortably in between George Best and Seamonsters. It´s notable for the fast pace and the cruching guitars, right from the longing in David Gedge´s voice as he sings"brassneck." I like the melodic guitar riff on,"crushed," a feature of The Wedding Present´s music. "No," is a typically honest Gedge composition, all about longing and loss. It´s probably the slowest song on the record. "Kennedy," sprawls on and on, jangling along busily. My favourite track on the album is probably,"Bewtiched," this is something of a benchmark for the work on Seamonsters, the lyrics are a little more brooding and I love the sound of the rhythm section on this. "Take me," is the most optimistic song on the record, it fizzes along uncontrolably. The new re-vamped version is great. All the bonus tracks are worth their salt. The sleeve notes are interesting and help put the record in the context of the music scene at the time of it´s release. This record shows how The Wedding Present developed a heavier, loudy style. Somehow they never lose their terrific tunefulness. Class