Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Wedding Present – Seamonsters

Wedding Present – Seamonsters LPOK, before you read any further, scroll down and play the track. See if you can guess who produced it. Should take you about five seconds, ten, tops.

The Wedding Present first worked with Steve Albini in 1990, when they re-recorded the opening track from 1989's Bizarro for a single/EP release. So pleased were they with the results on Brassneck that they decided to work with him again for the next full-length.

Which wound up being great timing, because shortly thereafter guitarist Pete Solowka left the band to play Ukrainian folk versions of Smiths songs full-time (seriously!). Solowka was responsible for the hyperspeed strumming that defined the band's early sound (cf. "Kennedy" from Monday's post), and without him the band were just a middle-of-the-road BritIndie guitar act. Albini's pummelling treble schtick gave the band a new sonic identity, and they give themselves over to it fully on Seamonsters.

I picked up a copy just recently, but I'd listened to it many years ago. The track "Suck" always stuck with me for some reason. I think it's the way the lead guitar comes in after such a spare start in the rhythm section. I like David Gedge's voice in here as well. He clearly has no business being a pop singer, but here he really uses his ragged vocal qualities to fine effect, imbuing the lyrics with a bleak sense of hopelessness. Not a very happy song, but quite an effective one.

Buy it... on vinyl.

From my deck to you: The Wedding Present – "Suck"

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