Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Genius Of... David Gedge #4

 #4: Interstate 5

OK, briefly for those of you who don't know the story. David Gedge and Sally Murrell split up in 2003 following the release of Cinerama's third album 'Torino'. He continued however, recording a new album. It was after the recording had finished that it was suggested the new record, entitled 'Take Fountain', sounded more like a Wedding Present album due to its proliferation of guitars. And so it was decided - after a layoff of some eight years - the Wedding Present were reborn.

The first fruit of these labours was a song I consider to be among the best David Gedge ever made. Released exactly 10 years ago this very day[1] Interstate 5 could be described as a bit of a slow-burner. In fact, it's a bit slow, full-stop. At six minutes long, it was never going to be a radio hit either. It's a curious choice of comeback single, yet it took my breath away. It's a great song, all about a bloke's consternation at being used by a woman as a one-night-stand.

  I have this nagging fear
  That sex was all you needed
  I try to persevere
  I guess I've not succeeded

It does build gradually - starting with a single repeated chord, overlaid by a chiming second guitar playing a simple melody. The rhythmic pulsing of that same chord runs throughout the song, rarely giving way until the bridge when Gedge acknowledges there were doubts about the femme fatale's motives at the time of the episode in question:

  And yes there was one particular glance
  That made me afraid
  That you were just seeing me as a chance
  Of getting laid

The resentment of the protagonist is felt in the closing minute and a half as those guitars get louder and more agitated at our hero's predicament. There's no doubt that this really was a mission statement from the boy Gedge - the Wedding Present are back! I agree, this was no Cinerama track. The album emerged to rave reviews and much joy at the return of one of indie music's great names.

That in itself raises an interesting point though - it was only a name. The record was recorded as Cinerama, only a late decision to attribute it to the Wedding Present really drew people's attention to it. Would it have been so hailed as a Cinerama record? Would I have cared so much about a new Cinerama record? Discuss.

There was a thought I had that I should include this in my 'Songs to take to my grave' series - I still might. Either way, it still deserves its place as a moment of Gedge genius. Oh, and it's worth noting that Interstate 5 was accompanied by an astonishing video recorded in locations the length and breadth of the UK. One of my favourite vids of all time in fact.

[1] I'd written and scheduled this piece before I'd even looked at the release date. Coincidence or what!

1 comment:

  1. Great post, genius is a much overused word, but in the case of David Gedge it is spot on. Similiar to yourself I was blown away the first time I heard Interstate 5. Easily one of Gedge's finest moments. I still think it would have been hailed a classic if under the name Cinerama, whatever the name it was still a great song...