Music

The Wedding Present

The Wedding Present was born in Leeds, in the UK, in 1985with the release of the debut single GO OUT AND GET EM’ BOY! and the band’sfirst album, GEORGE BEST, followed a couple of years later. With the earlyreleases on their own label, the band acquired a reputation for bittersweet,breathtakingly honest love songs immersed in whirlwind guitars, so it was quiteextraordinary that they decided to explore traditional Eastern European folkmusic for their major label debut on RCA Records in 1989 with UKRAINSKI VISTUPIV JOHNA PEELA. However, this was soon to be followed by the more traditionallyincendiary BIZARRO, which featured their first hit single KENNEDY.

The band’s next step was to enlist the aid of thenoise-mongering [and, at that point, relatively unknown] sound engineer SteveAlbini. The resulting SEAMONSTERS, recorded in the snowy wilds of Minnesota injust 11 days, suggested a more thoughtful Wedding Present.

A unique plan was hatched in 1992. By the end of that year,The Wedding Present had released twelve 7” singles, one per month, and equalledElvis Presley's 35-year-old record for "most hits in one year". Agang of impressive names, including Ian Broudie [The Lightning Seeds] andlegendary Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller collaborated on theindustry-challenging project, ultimately to be compiled on the two HIT PARADELPs.

1994’s WATUSI, produced by Steve Fisk [a prime mover in thecelebrated avant-garde scene of Seattle] whisked the band off into yet anothernew area with its lo-fi pop, three-part a capella harmonies and Waikiki-readysurf strains. The band returned to a more familiar sound in 1995 with the carthemed MINI, in which Gedge cloaked his tales of love and lust with automobilesymbolism.

The next album, SATURNALIA, was recorded in the studio ownedby The Cocteau Twins and released in 1996 to the usual flurry of criticalapproval, but it was shortly after this point that Gedge started work on a soloproject, CINERAMA. A fittingly titled outfit, Cinerama indulged Gedge's love offilm music from John Barry to Ennio Morricone... via Blaxploitation and TheVentures! Cinerama went on to record three stunning studio albums, VA VA VOOM,DISCO VOLANTE and TORINO.

At the end of 2002, Gedge split up with Sally Murrell, hislong-time girlfriend and chief Cinerama collaborator. He decided to leaveLeeds, his home for the preceding twenty-four years, and move to Seattle, wherehe began writing a collection of songs apparently influenced by his despairover the split. TAKE FOUNTAIN, the resultant album, was recorded by Steve Fiskand released, perhaps ironically, on St. Valentine’s Day, 2005. This longawaited LP brought The Wedding Present back into the spotlight with all thestyle and sophistication associated with a legendary group, but fans were alsopleased to see the band had lost none of the growling angst with which they hadburst onto the scene in 1985.

In January 2008 the band returned to Steve Albini for therecording of EL REY, which was released in the summer of that year to furthercritical acclaim. At the end of 2008 Gedge fulfilled a long held ambition byreleasing a bona fide Christmas song, HOLLY JOLLY HOLLYWOOD, a duet with LosAngeles based chanteuse, Simone White.

In 2009, as well launching his own mini-festival, AT THEEDGE OF THE SEA, which he curates and which now takes place every year inBrighton [UK], he also took part in a major collaboration with the BBC Big Bandfor the biannual ‘Fuse’ Festival which was held back in his home town of Leeds.For the event he performed Wedding Present and Cinerama songs backed byeighteen world class musicians including legendary 'James Bond' trumpeter DerekWatkins. Also in 2009, two Take Fountain songs, I’M FROM FURTHER NORTH THAN YOUand RINGWAY TO SEATAC, appeared in the award winning independent film SkillsLike This.

In 2012 The Wedding present released VALENTINA [which wasmixed in L.A. by Grammy award winning producer Andrew Scheps]  to furtherrave reviews. 2012 also saw the release of a new comic book series, TALES FROMTHE WEDDING PRESENT, which, Gedge has hinted, is essentially his memoirs ingraphic novel style.

In what turned out to be a huge and comprehensivereassessment of the band, 2014 saw Edsel Records re-releasing seven WeddingPresent albums in critically acclaimed multi-disc 'extended' editions whichbrought together a wealth of historic recordings, radio sessions and videos.

Such has been the unpredictable nature of Gedge's careerover the years, hardly anyone could have be surprised when he announced yetanother remarkable project in 2015. Collaborating with Spanish indie legendPedro Vigil he decided to completely 're-imagine' The Wedding Present'sVALENTINA album as Cinerama. The resulting album was also entitled VALENTINAand, with its "musical set pieces and vocal nuances fine enough to rivalBacharach and David",  was described as "a truly sparkling anduplifting concerto for the modern age" by Vive Le Rock Magazine.

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