‘Going, Going…’ is the title of the widely anticipated ninth studio album from UK indie darlings, The Wedding Present, but, in typical Wedding Present fashion… it’s not a conventional release! the album tells the story of a road trip across the USA, revealed across a collection of twenty ‘linked’ songs, each with an accompanying short film.
Always challenging and experimental, the idea to release the new project in a multi-media format is something that has been marinating with bandleader David Gedge for some time. As he points out, work began soon after the unveiling of The Wedding Present’s 2012 critically acclaimed album ‘Valentina’. “I’d already decided by then that I didn’t want to make the next release just ‘another album’ and so I came up with the idea of twenty ‘interconnected’ pieces of music. Then, in the summer of 2014 I travelled across the USA with photographer Jessica McMillan and we made some atmospheric short films to accompany the tracks. Since then it’s been a case of progressing through the music, trying all sorts of ideas, seeing how they work set against the visuals.”
Recorded at Studios La Fabrique in the south of France and Parr Street Studios in Liverpool with multiple Grammy award winning producer Andrew Scheps (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath, Adele) the resulting twenty tracks represent arguably The Wedding Present’s finest work to date, with Gedge, as always, showing himself to be the unrivalled master at observing human relationships from an everyman perspective but with the touch and artistry of a poet.
Uncharacteristically, the album opens with four hauntingly beautiful instrumental songs, including the cinematic ‘Sprague’ and the absolutely captivating ‘Marblehead’. ‘Going, Going…’ then takes a headlong dash through tracks such as ‘Two Bridges’, ‘Birdsnest’, ‘Kill Devil Hills’ and ‘Broken Bow’… all perfectly executed in classic Wedding Present fashion; a jangle of clanging guitars, a squeal of feedback and a rush of adrenaline. Few come as close to articulating the trials and pitfalls of a relationship in ways so instantly recognisable to the listener as David Gedge; his lyrics’ naturalism and truthfulness accentuated by his earthy accent. With ‘Little Silver’, ‘Bear’, ‘Lead’ and ‘Rachel’ he proves yet again that he is a virtuoso when it comes to the bittersweet love song; his knack for a simple turn of phrase perfectly articulating the banalities and ecstasies of a relationship.
Whilst they are the undoubted masters of frenetic indie-pop, The Wedding Present re-route momentarily on ‘Emporia’ and ‘Wales’ before ultimately immersing us in an epic album finale with ‘Santa Monica’. Throughout this enchanting album ambient soundscapes and orchestral pop arrangements jostle for position with layers of feedback drenched guitars, pummelling drums and a truly massive bass sound as we hear some of the heaviest material that the band have ever recorded. The films that accompany each track are a mesmerising collection of moving photographs. The rippling water in ‘Marblehead’ delicately draws us into the melody while ‘Two Bridges’ takes us onto a Manhattan street corner and exudes New York City in the summertime. The feeling of a road trip is present throughout as we see the rivers and lakes of the Mid-West and the deserts of the South-West before the album ends in a beautifully fitting way with the sun setting over the Santa Monica mountains.
To celebrate the release, The Wedding Present will perform the album in its entirety with projections of the accompanying films at five specially selected venues across the UK. All the venues will be seated in order to enhance the audience’s enjoyment of this unique series of very intimate concerts. With a long history of unusual projects, The Wedding Present have never been shy of leaping into the unknown and ‘Going, Going…’ is another perfect example of this.
5. Two Bridges
6. Little Silver
10. Kill Devil Hills
15. Broken Bow
17. Ten Sleep
20. Santa Monica