By 1997 The Wedding Present had run out of steam. The 'Singles 1995 - 1997' compilation shows a band short on tunes and devoid of inspiration. David Gedge's eloquent lyrics seemed hidebound by the restrictive three-chord-thrash template imposed on them. A major rethink was needed.
Recruiting then girlfriend Sally Murrell on vocals and keyboards, along with a host of other musicians, Gedge set about re-inventing his music. What emerged was this - lush, symphonic pop, gorgeously arranged and performed. Heck, Gedge even seems to have had some singing lessons to try and improve his grizzly drone.
Sonically, 'Va Va Voom' is the most mellow, acoustic album of Gedge's career. But it still packs a punch. His trademark bitter, spiteful lyrics about love, revenge and heartbreak are still in place, given an added frisson by the contrast with the smoothness of the music. "I hate your lies, and those guys you call friends" he sings, to a gently lapping musical accompaniment.
The album opens with an hilarious answer phone message by someone who's just dumped our hapless Dave - "I did get your message/I just can't believe you're doing this/What is wrong with you?". Somehow, the American accent makes it even funnier.
'Kerry Kerry' is a jaunty pop song with soaring strings, 'Dance Girl Dance' a deliciously sweet romp.
And Gedge, the perennial loser in love, even seems to have found contentment with Murrell, judging by 'Barefoot In The Park' and 'You Turn Me On'. It wasn't to last.