It’s important to respect your elders, because if you don’t, they will certainly put manners on you. The Wedding Present, is an indie rock band that has been a renowned well of creativity –dating back to 1985. Lead by David Gedge, the band has once against summoned up its might and released yet another album, Going, Going… Notably, it’s long and it’s good and frankly, challenges the world of indie to step its game up.
Going, Going is a super diverse album, packed with skillfully crafted song after song. Going, Going’s real gift is in its consistency. From a few introductory tracks to the depths of the album, The Wedding Present performs with devotion –the band barrages this listener with an excess of melodies to supplant silence.
The album gets going with “Kittery,” and “Greenland,” two incredibly thematic, atmospheric, and carefully constructed tracks. In either song the band balances heavy distortion and explosive percussion with an ever-building ambience. In “Kittery,” ascending keys add an air of doom whereas “Greenland,” utilizes radio-vocal chatter to layer in the gloom. The album continues to set the mood right through until a big jangly breakthrough – “Two Bridges.”
There’s something insistently pleasing about English indie pop and The Wedding Present scores big with their fifth track. “Two Bridges” relies heavily upon quickly played chord progressions and is motivated by the constant push of Gedge’s vocals. While the song begins poppy, it slowly works its way into a darker mood. The second half of the track begins with a repetitive spiral of notes and crescendoing drums. By the end the intensity is such that it feels less indie pop, more grunge, and fades into a mellowed out jam. The following track, “Little Silver,” is all about clean and careful guitar lines alongside the softest, somber vocals. When the song bursts with energy, it becomes a punk ballad. The songs stand in contrast to one another but represent the remarkable range of The Wedding Present.
The album progresses with more back and forth. Tracks like “Bear” are grittier and exhibit, on occasion, more sophisticated layers or other intricately designed characteristics. Meanwhile, they’re followed up but jams like, “Secretary,” which are fast, driven, hyper –exciting. The first half of the album holds up as a gem and closes spectacularly with, “Kill Devil Hills.” The tune is of the faster variety and features some real dizzying energy. The instrumental voices and vocals slide between two extremes –dramatic, thematic, builds – against poppy, punk love song. Time and time again, Going, Going… raises the bar, consistently pushing track after track that features a variety of level of interesting.
Amongst the wide selection of tunes, tracks begin to mix and fade together. Amongst all that good, there’s just this terrible sensation of same. Going, Going… seems like an arguably safe album. If it weren’t for such a dense history, one could easily mistake The Wedding Present as a one-trick pony. Let’s not lose track of the album’s intense diversity. At times, it’s difficult to remember if you’re listening to Another Sunny Day, the Dead Kennedys, or a condensed tribute to Godspeed You!. But for the most part, it almost seems as if the band found a few formulas and repeated. The album lacks anything truly distinct and groundbreaking as to make it new or fresh and is instead just the same old and predictable. Again, if it weren’t for the history… It’s a UK indie rock band that sounds like a parody of itself.
Even if overall creativity wasn’t Going, Going’s strong point, it does feature an onslaught of perfectly crafted tracks. Of those which stood out, it was always the lively songs –they’re simpler and fall into the ‘parody’ category, but feel more motivated by the band. The more ambient and noisy tracks of Going, Going feel out of place. Songs like “Broken Bow” sound natural. It’s the rapid, fuzzed out, intense guitar. Maybe it just melds better with Gedge’s vocals, but a little distortion mixed along a superb percussion goes a far way. The band cements this idea that fast is good, and towards the end, The Wedding Present delivers a fantastic jam, “Ten Sleep.” It’s energetic and features the familiar elements of the band’s best. “Ten Sleep” pulls together the same quick, rock guitars, powerful but tasteful percussion, and vocals that string it together nicely. It’s fun and a bit quirky in a ‘children’s action television show theme’ sort of guitar riff way. “Ten Sleep” is a bit of a departure from the rest of the album but a refreshing one at that, making it a definitive favorite.
The Wedding Present made one hell of an album with Going, Going… It’s no blockbuster but it consistently impresses track after track. While maybe not a must-listen for all people, the album is unarguably a must listen for the indie pop/rock world. The Wedding Present provides a buffet for listeners to feast upon –your ears will certainly be satisfied by the end of the bulky but blissful listen.