The Wedding Present - Going Going - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Wedding Present - Going Going

by Kevin Orton Rating:7 Release Date:2016-09-02

Since 1987’s George Best, The Wedding Present have gone through many incarnations. The one constant being its founding father, David Gedge. Another constant are themes of first love, heartbreak and revenge. Three things which are never dull. According to the late great DJ. John Peel, Gedge “has written some of the best love songs of the Rock ‘n’ Roll era.”

 Maddeningly, Going Going begins with four instrumental tracks before revving up its engines. ‘Kittery’, the opener, is the sort of introductory ambient noise many a band has indulged in. And it would all go in one ear and out the other if it didn’t last over five monotonous minutes. ‘Greenland’ follows and is essentially a woman repetitively reading a weather report for over three minutes. One gets the feeling Gedge is doing his damnedest to discourage anyone from listening. ‘Marblehead’ is a much needed departure featuring some haunting piano and some beautiful female vocals. However musically, it turns out to be another circular loop which goes nowhere. ‘Sprague’ is more orchestrated with its fragile piano and strings worthy of something off Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left.

 All of which makes it all the more jarring when ‘Two Bridges’ kicks in. I understand “art” is happening, but I gave up smoking weed years ago. ‘Two Bridges’ is the sound of Gedge and co. finally rolling up their sleeves. Any fears of falling back into ambient noise are laid to rest with ‘Track 6’. An intimate ballad that suddenly erupts into furious fits of noise. It’s a dynamic that propels more than jars and characteristic of this album as a whole. ‘Bear’ follows and is one of those great love songs John Peel was going on about.

 ‘Secretary’ is an exercise in pure break up frustration. “All I ever get is you secretary”, Gedge rages.  And notice how the gender roles are reversed. Meanwhile, the object of affection, explains why she’s sick of his obsessive behavior in a bored monotone. ‘Secretary’ ends with a sound I haven’t heard in ages. The sound of someone hanging up on you on the land line.

‘Birdsnest’ continues in the same vein but ‘Kill Devil Hills’ is an album standout. This is one is the single. The sound of pure Lust going at it.

The tortured ‘Bells’ keeps up the ante with driving guitars and sentiments like, “I should have heard alarm bells ringing, that’s what I’m thinking. And I called you darling because I already forgotten your name” “What an unqualified disaster this all became”, Gedge croons. And yet it’s clear Going Going is anything but. At twenty tracks, it could be argued it’s all a bit overwhelming. Or a wealth of riches.

 ‘Emporia’ drives the album’s narrative home. Going Going might just be a “concept” album. This is the story of an unraveling psyche and the cul de sacs it paces in jealously, lust and despair. And while ‘Rachel’ is the kind of love song Gedge excels at, ‘Wales’ is another instrumental that breaks up the flow. It all ends with a whisper to a scream on ‘Track 20’.

Sonically speaking, this record presents a claustrophobic sense of paranoia. There’s an appealing rawness to all the endless gloaming days of heartbreak chronicled herein. Truth be told, Going Going is a bit of an ornery, unwieldy listen at first. But if you can put up with the filler, it rewards with repeated playing. This is a record of passion. And passion never strives for perfection. And on occasion it can outstay its welcome. But where would we be without it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Emporia’ drives the album’s narrative home. Going Going might just be a “concept” album. This is the story of an unraveling psyche and the cul de sacs it paces in jealously, lust and despair. And while ‘Rachel’ is the kind of love song Gedge excels at, ‘Wales’ is another instrumental that breaks up the flow. It all ends with a whisper to a scream on ‘Track 20’.

Sonically speaking, this record presents a claustrophobic sense of paranoia. There’s an appealing rawness to all the endless gloaming days of heartbreak chronicled herein. Truth be told, Going Going is a bit of an ornery, unwieldy listen at first. But if you can put up with the filler, it rewards with repeated playing. This is a record of passion. And passion never strives for perfection. And on occasion it can outstay its welcome. But where would we be without it?

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