Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New MP3 from the Wedding Present (great guitars, via Albini and veteran Brit band)

"I Lost the Monkey" - the Wedding Present
     From its gentle, even poignant opening, "I Lost the Monkey" blossoms into a loud-but-controlled midtempo construction of prepossessing precision, with consistently impressive guitar work and a brilliant chorus.
     Just listen to those guitars--whether it's the semi-dissonance of the second "intro" (the extended instrumental after the quiet opening verse, starting at 0:34) or the melodicism that emerges in the middle of the chorus, and then more prominently in the second verse (starting around 1:57), the guitars are used here with unusual care and sensitivity. This is not just a couple of guys strumming to fill in empty space. And then there's that terrific chorus, which is rendered all the more affecting by lead man David Gedge's restrained, almost whispered vocals, which make no effort to rise above the guitars, but somehow create a quiet clearing in the middle of the noise in which they can nonetheless be heard.
     A veteran band from Leeds, the Wedding Present has been through a number of lineup changes since its formation back in 1985; by now, the only constant through the years has been Gedge, now 48. (Note that in 1992, the Wedding Present released a new single on the first Monday of every month--a very internet music scene-like thing to do, well before the birth of the internet music scene.) For their new album, El Rey, the band has brought studio whiz Steve Albini back to the controls (Albini previously engineered CDs for the band in 1989 and 1991; he does not want to be called a producer, by the way). I've no idea what the rest of the album sounds like, but this one soars.

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