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John Peel Sessions : Season 2

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Album Review

Possibly the first in a series of BBC-related releases from David Gedge's chamber pop collective, John Peel Sessions compiles two full sessions for the BBC show, as well as two acoustic renditions from a Peel Acres visit and two additional performances from Peel's 60th birthday celebration. The first session, dating from mid-1998, preceded the release of Va Va Voom. Each of the four songs would turn up on the album, released a couple of weeks after the initial broadcast. Since Cinerama wasn't a full-blown "working band" entity at that point, the four tracks are a bit rough when compared to their studio counterparts. This becomes more apparent when listening to the following session, which seems to find the songs more road-tested. "Maniac" is the standout of the first session, remarkably slower — and arguably more effective as a result — than the version on Va Va Voom. The second session finds an immaculately rehearsed Cinerama, previewing two future B-sides and the lead track from 2000s Disco Volante. A strings-laden cover of the Turtles' "Elenore" is a nice surprise; given its baroque nature, it actually sounds more like a Left Banke tune. The live performances of "Kerry Kerry" and "Hard, Fast and Beautiful" from Peel's 60th birthday sound more like a rock band, with more emphasis on guitar. Surprisingly, who would have known in 1986 that Gedge would develop into a vocalist capable of the torch terrain evidenced at the beginning of "Hard, Fast and Beautiful"? As with Gedge's many BBC releases with the Wedding Present, this disc makes a worthy addition to any fan's collection. It also works well for those who haven't kept up with the Cinerama records, since it presents a good impression of what Gedge has been up to since the Weddoes were last heard from.


Formed: 1997 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England

Genre: Alternative

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

Named for an immersive widescreen film projection system that predated IMAX, Cinerama were founded by David Gedge after he put the Wedding Present on sabbatical following a 1997 tour. Centered lyrically around Gedge's regular themes of courtship, romance, love, lust, and infidelity, Cinerama also indulged Gedge's love of film music from John Barry to blaxploitation, as well as the classic songwriting of Bacharach/David and the less dramatic sides of Scott Walker -- a comfy spot between twee and Tindersticks,...
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John Peel Sessions : Season 2, Cinerama
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