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Album Review

Thanks for the reminder! David Gedge and his two bands (the other: Cinerama, 1997-2004) have done such yeoman mid-tempo work for 17 years, since Seamonsters, that it's easy to forget that Leeds' Wedding Present began as the fastest jangle pop band in history (still never equaled in speed!). This first-official live LP is two complete 1987 soundboard gigs from England and Germany, originally given away with their fan magazine, Invasion of the Wedding Present. As such, both capture them at the height of their rapid-pop powers, after two years of regular, breathless singles (collected later as an alternative first LP, Tommy, which is the ultimate document of their original naiveté) and their adored proper-first LP George Best. The fearsome foursome regrettably didn't make it to the U.S. at that time, but Yank fans wondered aloud if some Brit punters turned up just to see how, exactly, Gedge and especially lead guitarist Peter Solowoka could whip the strings up and down so damn fast. Doubt it? Listen to this double CD! Of course, they weren't mere curiosity or some kind of Guinness Book stunt. They had an equally fast-Fall/Gang of Four/1980 Buzzcocks economy in their rhythm section, an Orange Juice-style choppy chording approach (they cover "Felicity" here, natch), and Gedge's Smiths-like melodies and frustrated-shocked-wounded-angry-cocky lyrics one-upping the departing Smiths' Morrissey. It's even faster and more frantic live, of course, with the adrenalin of public performance, but somehow it all holds together. It documents a moment in British indie pop history when they led a very large and lasting pack, too.


Formed: 1985 in Leeds, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Emerging in the wake of the Smiths' demise as the U.K.'s most successful indie pop band during the late '80s, the Wedding Present were founded in Leeds, England, in 1985. Formed from the ashes of the short-lived Lost Pandas, the Weddoes (as they were affectionately dubbed by fans) were essentially the vehicle of singer/songwriter David Gedge, the only constant member throughout the group's tumultuous history. Initially rounded out by guitarist Peter Solowka, bassist Keith Gregory, and drummer Shaun...
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