As has been the case for most of their albums, the Wedding Present's new offering, Take Fountain, is an accurate barometer of the latest trends in the less-than-popular music world. When the C86 had been freshly released, heralding the demise of the shimmering Smiths jangle in favor of a less polished sound, David Gedge and the Weddoes were racing toward the finish line with lightning guitar strums and insecure vocals. Later, just after Steve Albini had achieved his predestined unlikely fame and Creation Records was on the tips of everyone's tongues, the Wedding Present contracted Albini to drench Seamonsters in feedback, and got more attention. Now, we have Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party ready to vault into stardom with repetitive rhythms and drowsy guitar non-hooks. Unfortunately, Gedge seems to have picked an unlucky time to get the band back together.
They may have always followed trends, but the Wedding Present has continued to be a great band because of their ability to meld the elements they were stealing from into an already distinct sound. Take Fountain, however, does little to expand on the formulaic offerings their followers have released. Instead, the album risks running itself into a dead end it creates, all on its own.
From the reckless jangle roots they came from, where songs were rarely finished, if even started, in any formulaic fashion, the Weddoes songs are now too finished. I didn't think it was possible either. The first track, "Interstate 5," goes on for an unprecedented... eight minutes! Gedge is still singing about humorous sexual escapades with little to no censorship, but the joke doesn't come through when you have to listen to it repeated over and over again for... eight minutes! There are some moments of old Wedding Present charm. "Ringway to Seatac" isn't exactly a barn-burner, but the energy is fizzling and Gedge is pissed in his typically spited way.
It is unknown whether or not any Wedding Present members hate each other, but given the recent flurry of reunions, I would be willing to bet that the bank is getting a little low. Nevertheless, the resulting tour will be something to look forward to. A window into the days when being a band writing fun pop could get you somewhere in... Britian.
1. Interstate 5 - (extended version)
2. Always The Quiet One
3. I'm From Further North Than You
4. Mars Sparkles Down On Me
5. Ringway To Seatac
6. Don't Touch That Dial - (Pacific Northwest Version)
7. It's For You
9. Queen Anne
10. Perfect Blue