I'd written my review for this album long before I even heard it and thankfully I didn't have to go back and change much. Where 2005's Take Fountain had been destined to be a release from Cinerama, it was re-purposed at the last minute following a change in personnel and a darker turn in the songwriting. With The Wedding Present brand revived, El Rey has had an entire gestation period and with Steve Albini back in the mix you've got a potent cocktail - which fortunately does not fail to explode. With the advances in technology since the lo-fi early days of George Best or Bizarro, there's no need for a technical back-step and the production is loud, crisp and powerful.
Since the release of Take Fountain in 2005, David Gedge has taken Interstate 5 south and re-located from his post-Leeds home of Seattle down to sunny Los Angeles, although I'm not sure we can expect an Entourage cameo anytime soon. The setting might have moved to Hollywood (Winona Ryder and Spider-man get a namecheck), but the subjects stays the same: broken hearts, cheating, lust, regret. The usual.
Given the usually autobiographical nature of Gedge's songs it would seem that he still hasn't got over his last break up - or he's got another ex-girlfriend already. Either way, his loss is our gain and the serial dating of California has seemingly provided much inspiration. With some of the more Cinerama-esque songs of Take Fountain excised (Larry's, Don't Touch That Dial) and the less-than-sympathetic production from Albini added to the mix and what's left is a beefed up sound with guitar-heavy riffs that leave barely a weak track on the album.
It may be a more up-to-date version of The Wedding Present sound - what with the talk of text messages, on Don't Take Me Home, JPEGs on Intenet obsession tune Model, Actress, Whatever and even a mention of text messaging - but all the ingredients are here and there's even a return to the mosh-pit friendly style of Brassneck on Soup. Speaker stack facing guitar work-outs are also thankfully represented on The Thing I Like Best About Him Is His Girlfriend and Boo Boo amongst others. The dueling female vocals of bassist Terry De Castro may recall Cinerama here and there, but that'll be Cinerama at their best. There's no single track as epic as the sprawling Interstate 5 off Take Fountain, but this is a thoroughly consistent, effortlessly entertaining album. Have no doubt: this is pure, undiluted Wedding Present.