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Review: 'Wedding Present, The'
'Locked Down And Stripped Back'   

-  Label: 'Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records/Scopiotones'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '26.2.21.'-  Catalogue No: 'HHBTM210'

Our Rating:
It's The Wedding Presents turn to put out a Lockdown album, in there case they have recorded several of the bands classic tunes and added in another couple of songs one of which was originally recorded but unreleased by Sleeper.

The album opens with the classic A Million Miles stripped back to jangly acoustic guitars and a slightly less forceful vocal delivery on this song of hope and desire for a girl you want to persuade to be yours.

California has nice jangly acoustic guitar and very snare led percussion and stripped back drums and of course David Gedge's nicely deadpan vocals that make the song feel more reflective than the fully electric original.

Starry Eyed manages to sound a bit like The Smiths while being laid back and helped by Melanie Howards backing vocals with the added strings making this a song of stark beauty.

We Should Be Together is a gorgeous love duet between David Gedge and Louise Wener as they circle each other trying to make it happen over the reasonably chilled out backing for this song that is an unreleased Sleeper gem.

You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends is a song that almost predicts the days of social media where you could find all your old school friends again as the guitars jangle and help to emphasize the lyrics that are full of nostalgia and yet wanting things to move forwards.

Granadaland is every bit as speedy as the original, and the acoustic guitars don't let up as the song powers along, like some long-lost Granada TV documentary about love among the urban despair of Granadaland.

New song or recorded and released for the first-time song You're Just A Habit I'm Trying To Break is the sparsest song opening acapella and full of hope to be heartbroken and free of the person chaining him down, I love the piano solo that brings this song to a conclusion, as I don't remember hearing a piano solo on a song by The Wedding Present before.

Crawl has some chiming acoustic guitar setting the pace that's anything but a crawl as they try to crawl from the wreckage of another friendship falling to pieces.

Melanie Howard takes lead vocals on Sports Car that allows her rich voice to spill her heart out over strings and sparse drums with a very cool guitar part, her voice is similar to Monica Queens.

Deer Caught In The Headlights is heavily strummed on the verses and then breaks down nicely as David tells her she's too pretty for him as the dance between them continues on this lovely tale that works really well in this stripped back form.

Blonde is totally stripped apart to the sparsest barely their guitar and a slowly and softly sung paean of pleading to the blonde of his desire, this makes the song feel like an old folk song as the bitter rejection unfolds and David pours his heart out Melanie harmonizes to pull at our heart strings, I love this version.

The album closes with the far more electric take on the classic My Favourite Dress that while not covered in the full assault it usually is, this is still forceful enough and the vocals being far easier to hear really helps make every word all the more direct and focused bringing out another side of this always brilliant song that I've loved since first hearing it on the John Peel show all those years ago.

Find out more at https://www.hhbtm.com/product/the-wedding-present-locked-down-stripped-back/ https://scopitones.co.uk/archives/8635 https://www.facebook.com/TheWeddingPresentOfficial

  author: simonovitch

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