The Wedding Present – Going, Going…

One of the nice things about being a band with a strong cult following is that you don’t have to follow conventions. Going, Going… certainly does not. Whatever your preconceptions are of The Wedding Present there will be a few surprises on this album. The whole album is 73 minutes long and it sometimes feels like David Gedge has been given a CD and asked to fill it with anything he has lying around. There are 20 tracks ranging from gentle and tranquil stuff through to the full-on rocky anthems which seem more in keeping with what’s expected.

The album starts off with ‘Kittery’ and sounds like the track’s made for a movie’s opening credits. Which is probably not surprising considering how Gedge describes the album, “I came up with the idea of the twenty connected pieces of music, in the summer of 2014, I travelled across the USA with photographer Jessica McMillan and we made some atmospheric short films to accompany the music. Since then it’s been a case of progressing through the tracks, trying all sorts of ideas, seeing how they work set against the visuals”. You can get these movies on DVD with the physical copy of the album.

This is followed by ‘Greenland’ that has a very road-movie feel to it, a spoken word track over a steady but simple drum loop that sounds like the constant update of navigation directions.

The next three tracks ‘Marblehead’, ‘Sprague’ and ‘Two Bridges’ are like lullabies with little or no lyrics, though a lot of la la la’s, that are perfect tracks to listen to while driving down endless miles of road. They build up in intensity over the three tracks while the first five tracks almost feel like a free EP from his other band Cinerama tagged onto the beginning of the album.

After that the album turns into a more typical Wedding Present affair with songs like ‘Little Silver’, ‘Secretary’ and ‘Bells’ which are bound to go down well live. In fact ‘Secretary’ was performed live last year at David’s At the Edge of the Sea Festival and the crowd loved it. It’s your usual mix of grungy or wailing guitars, bittersweet love songs and songs pondering on dreams and ambitions, or more often than not broken dreams and lost ambitions.

David Gedge seems to tap into all his experience and experimentation with his side projects to put this album together, there is even the non-English track ‘Wales’. The album finishes as it started with a quieter gentle track, almost like the closing credits score to a movie.

I’ve not seen the accompanying videos yet but listening to the album has really made me want to see the imagery that has been set to the music. This may not be an album for everyone but there are certainly some gems on it that will grab your attention. It’s an album you really have to listen to from start to finish before making any judgement calls, it’s quite a bold move to do something so non-standard these days. It would have been very easy for them to pick a dozen tracks off this album and release a more traditional set of Wedding Present tunes. Using the remaining tracks to make another album to be released under a different guise.

For me though it’s a refreshing change especially as diversity is something I often find very lacking in most albums. The seemingly random but connected collection of tracks make this a unique album that really stands out from the crowded music market and is an experience like watching a movie, even without the videos that go with each track.
Jonski Mason