Friday, March 08, 2013

FDF Volume 3 Issue 296 - The Wedding Present - Bizarro

Album - Bizarro
Artist – The Wedding Present
Key Players – Simon Smith – drums. Keith Gregory – bass. Peter Solowka – guitar. David Gedge – vocals and guitar.
Produced By – Chris Allison

Release Date – 1989

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Some times I am just looking for something to write about. This band I found out about from a video on MTV. I went hunting and grabbed it. Its been a while since I've spent time with it.

Overview – This is the second studio album Leeds England band “The Wedding Present”. Formed in 1985 this foursome would cull influences (Gang of Four/The Fall). Gedge and Gregory were in a band together prior to this and Gregory would ask an old friend Solowka to join. The band would catch interest from legendary Radio DJ John Peel, but they'd avoid working with any labels at the time to self release their material. The band would then begin to work with Smith on drums. This would lead to a major label deal with RCA records, more singles, eps and touring. By 1992 the band left RCA and headed to Island records. They'd continue to work, in various versions of the band under various labels before taking a break in 1997. They'd reform in 2004 and they continue to tour.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The fourteen track just over 60 minute album opens with the ripping “Brassneck”. The band is in full tilt mode with the guitars chopping over the Smith drum line. Once Gedge starts to sing you hear the drawl and a tint of swagger. The lyrics are as quick as the music that accompanies it. Solowka seems to lead the attack with the guitar and Gregory has a solid bass line keeping it right on task. There is an acoustic break down towards the end of the song, but Smith keeps rolling across this drum kit and it swells and swells in urgency before the guitar strikes again and it suddenly ends on one chord. Solowka is right at it again as “Crushed” gets underway. After it as if it owes him money he slices the guitar before Smith and Gregory follow. Gedge adds the second layer of guitars and continues to attack his lyrics. We seem to mellow some as “No” beings, with a little more ring and melody to the guitar lines. Gregory has his bass line a bit more up in the mix. The band seems to mix the tempos well and this shows a different side. You can't mistake Gedge, but this is a nice change of pace on the album. Smith gets the lead as “Thanks” takes off. We are back at the races and full band assault. Personally, I like this side. The guitar is awesome on this. “Kennedy” opens similar. I recall seeing this on MTV's 120 Minutes. Remember when they used to...ahh forget it. The late night and just that blast of guitars was the catalyst that had me looking for this record to begin with. Bordering on punk rock for it speed and perhaps perceivable simpleness the guitar and bass is so “at you” its just worth your time. To hear Gedge say “apple pie” is also worth it. One of the most “repeatable” songs you'll ever hear. “What Have I Said Now?” takes it down a notch from the prior track. The band finds the one groove for the few opening bars before the vocals begin. You can hear Gregory throw some progressions in there, but the guitars seems to be the brunt of the volume. It feels a bit laid back for the band, but still is interesting, and it really gets cool at the end. “Granadaland” just continues with the guitar attack. Gedge always comes off as being angry, but it comes off more as impassioned. He wants to spin the lyrics at you at the pace of the band tempo, and it always seems to work. The band seems to slow you in to a sense of ending, then BOOM right back at you. Top notch.  “Bewitched” is the first track where the band goes beyond the 5 minute threshold. Just shy of 7 minutes we found the band at its most laid back to this point. The guitar has a bring ring to it, and Gregory seems to walk all over the fret board but Gedge doesn't seem as after it for the first verse, then we hammer down. Big ringing guitars and Smith keeps it on the level, but you can almost feel the band ready to explode, before it cools down again. We get this a few times, but its in a good way. A great track. “Take Me!” just erupts off the speakers. A perfectly named track as they just lay it out there for you to take. They have a long jam on this track (its over 9 minutes long) so its a fun blast of guitars.  “Brassneck” appears for the second time. This version was engineered by Steve Albini so the focus is a bit more on the drums, which is fine. The vocals have a slight modification as well, but its similar to the album opener. We get a single guitar at the intro for “Box Elder Mo”. Smith and Gregory hold a solid bottom, but the attack is missing on this one. I guess I've gotten used to this and needed a little break? That passes quick and we go to the next track “Don't Talk, Just Kiss”. Gedge is still laid back some on the vocals, but the guys are all otherwise busy. They take off some, but come back around. Another solid example of their diversity on the record. Smith and Gregory get to open “Gone”, a track that has a frantic back beat and solid bass fills. By the time the two guitars come in you are in a punk rock mode. This just doesn't slow down and you almost feel tired just listening to it. The album concludes with “Be Honest”. The last four songs on the record are all under four minutes and we get that rapid attack, until this one. A false start with some in studio laughter and banter before they set the song off. Acoustic guitars are the norm here with nice layers over electrics. A solid and refreshing closer.

Where are they now? Simon Smith's tenure with the band ended in 1997 with the “break”. Gregory left the band in 1993 due to a lack of “enthusiasm”. Solowka left the band in 1991. Gedge is the bands only constant member.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have never seen the band live.

FDF Overall Take – Honestly I got through about half this record and got pissed this is the only thing I own from them. I need help!! What to get next??! There are just some really great guitar sections and it I don't know what else to say. Really glad I got back to this, and it won't be this long again.



Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Live version of Brassneck 
Kennedy  Live
What Have I Said Now?  Live

The album reviewed here went out of print but the reissue can can get a copy at a place like amazon
Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.


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