Friday, 4 May 2007
Bizarro - The Wedding Present
The Wedding Present were once described by David Gedge (frontman for the band) as "Smiths fans' second favourite band". Unbelievably downplaying the band's talent. 'Bizarro', their 1989 classic is my recommendation of where to start. It is a brilliant epic with huge guitars, truly heartfelt lyrics, pounding drums which makes it an all round rock gem. From the off, the belter that is 'Brassneck' the second single to be lifted from this record, even if they used the slightly faster single take rather than the album take, sets the scene. Lyrics like "I've just decided I don't trust you anymore" tell tales of heartache that previously perhaps only Neil Young could manage. After 'Brassneck' there is no slowing down the pace. 'Crushed' belts in with its ridiculously fast guitar chords for it's introduction. And when the band come in, you are rushed along this journey at eighteen million miles an hour, being told " Oh you know I'm crushed inside / Oh goodness knows I've tried / I think I've had enough" by Gedge, who is fired up, heartbroken and could do something mental at any point. The melodies throughout are so uplifting and energising yet heart wrenchingly good. Maximo Parks' 'Our Velocity' borrows a great deal from the verse melody of 'Crushed' I think. The bands sound reminds me of early Bunnymen stuff, the jangly sharp guitars of Will Sergeant are clearly audible in 'Bizarro' but they have picked up an intensity that 'Heaven Up Here' could never quite manage. Track 3, simply titled 'No' acts as the first breather in the album. But it's the kind of breather that if it was on anyone else's record, it would be the standout track. Slower, but by no means less emotional, 'No' shows the depth this band have. The ability to not have to play everything at the precedent of eighteen million miles an hour really allows Gedge to develop his song writing, and make sure every single song, lyrics, melody and chords are all perfect. The breather supplied by 'No' is cut short by the pacey 'Thanks' which is a typically excellent song, and clocks in at just 2.23, the shortest cut on the album. Following that is the lead single 'Kennedy' which is an indie anthem. And if it isn't then there is a great injustice. Simply fantastic. 'What have I said Now?' and 'Grandadland' keep up the standard set by the first half of the record. Then we reach the two songs that really make the record stand out for me. 'Bewitched' is, as Mark Beaumont said in the sleeve notes, "the most direct and affecting snapshot of unrequited love ever put to record". Couldn't have put it better myself. Maybe that's why he is writing the sleeve notes and I am writing a small scale Internet blog? Whose to know. Then comes 'Take Me!' which is the most uplifting song on the record, and is a direct shot of happiness to your head. A 9 minute shot. So happy that you can almost tell the band just forgot to stop because they were having such a good time recording it. What starts of as a regularly brilliant Wedding Present creation, albeit a happy one rather than a sad one, ends up being a 9 minute epic about taking that one chance at love. It is fucking amazing. It's worth the price of the record alone, just to have this song in your life. You need it. The fuck up at the beginning of 'Be Honest' really suits the mood just created by 'Take Me!'. Be Honest is the gentle come down that all albums of this intensity, not that there can be many, require. A quick paced acoustic number, Gedge is really allowed to show off here, and you hear the full on quality of the band, again showing their ability to be diverse. Suitably excellent lead guitar parts on 'Be Honest' as well, a move away from the Bunnymen style epic guitar, to a more beautiful melodic style. It really suits the album.
So if you don't own this then buy it. This is how good people say The Smiths are, which is obviously far superior to how good The Smiths actually are. This should be the defining record of the eighties, even if it did come right at the end of the decade. 'The Queen is Dead', long live 'Bizarro'.
Currently listening to 'Takk' by Sigur Rós