It's a return to the unashamedly 'indie' for this post, and you don't get much more indie than the Wedding Present. You'll already know of my affection for Mr Gedge and whichever intrepid cohorts happen to be playing with him this week. While most fans would opt for the band's seminal third album 'Seamonsters' from 1991, its predecessor, 1989's 'Bizarro' just edges it for me. Yeah, controversial I know.
While 'Bizarro' was hardly a dramatic change of direction for the band, it certainly bore a number of marked differences and developments compared with 'George Best'. Sure the trademarks were all in place: Gedge's thrashy, jangly guitar bursts with dour Yorkshire drawl over the top; lyrics telling tales of love, lust, jealousy, revenge, guilt and resentment. However, the sound was altogether meatier and fuller, the songs sounded more fully formed and for the first time, tracks extended beyond the 5-minute mark.
There were some top tunes too. As well as the introductory single, there was No and Granadaland, two songs in which Gedge really lets rip at a girlfriend; Bewitched which could stand as a somewhat experimental moment in the early Weddoes canon (and also one of my favourite tracks on the album); and the sprawling monster that is Take Me!, nine-plus minutes of classic Gedge culminating in an extended Velvet Underground-esque rhythm guitar wig-out.
|David Gedge on the 'Bizarro'|
21st Anniversary tour.
Oh yes, he's still got it!
I never did quite get into 'Seamonsters' the way I should have, though it has grown on me a lot over time (I also went to their Cardiff show on the 21st Anniversary tour for that album in 2012!) Strange really as I really loved the re-recording of 'Bizarro''s opener Brassneck they did with Steve Albini which hinted at what was to come.
I think the secret lay in the songs. 'Seamonsters' was quite heavy going in places whereas everything I initially loved about the Wedding Present was present and correct on 'Bizarro' plus more besides. It's probably why I still come back to it 25 years on.
- Kennedy -The Wedding Present (from ‘Bizarro’)
- No - The Wedding Present (from ‘Bizarro’)
- Brassneck [single version] - The Wedding Present (from ‘Brassneck’ single; my second favourite Wedding Present video)
- Bewitched - The Wedding Present (from ‘Bizarro’; this live vid is the closest I could find to the studio version on YouTube)