Monday, April 04, 2005

Album Review:
The Wedding Present
Take Fountain

There is always a fear the first time one listens to new material from your favorite band that this is the one to destroy your faith, the one that will break your heart. I am happy to report that Take Fountain, the long-awaited return of the Wedding Present, doesn't break your heart, it breaks your heart. It takes all of a minute and a half for David Gedge to deliver the zinger, "In case you suddenly remember that I'm still alive."

In the old SAT world of analogies, Iggy Pop's Naughty Little Doggy is to Avenue A as Cinerama's Torino is to Take Fountain. With the former albums, it was obvious that all was not right at home; the news that Iggy had gotten divorced and that Gedge had split from longtime partner (and Cinerama co-conspirator) Sally Murrell was hardly a surprise. And in both cases, the latter works are the "back on the market" albums. Gedge is dealing with rebound relationships ("I'm From Further North Than You"), meeting the ex's new beau ("Mars Sparkles Down on Me"), discovering that he's been seduced and abandoned (opening track "Interstate 5") and just trying to get on with life after the demise of a long relationship ("Larry's"). On one had, the return of the Wedding Present also means a return of the frenzied, noisy bashing that Gedge mostly suppressed in Cinerama, despite overlapping personnel. But influences of the near decade of Cinerama surface, too, with string arrangements and an extended homage to Ennio Morricone.

While the reunion of the Wedding Present is certainly cause for celebration, it's not like David Gedge disappeared during the nine years of the band's inactivity. Regardless of whether he's wearing his Cinerama or Wedding Present hat, he continues to amaze with his precise takes on heartbreak and the general awkwardness of love.

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