The Wedding Present

Singles 1995-1997

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CDs these days wrap up most of the Weddoes' non-LP releases in neat bows. Their earliest 45s form Tommy. In 1999, Manifesto records released Singles 1989-1991, the first five singles the group recorded after signing to RCA, with extra tracks. The band's "single a month" 1992 series of 12 originals and 12 covers can be found on two CDs, Hit Parades 1 and 2. There's also a Peel Sessions CD. And now the post-Watusi work is given the same treatment. Those who already bought 1996's Mini-Plus will feel cheated, as that expanded version of the import Mini EP has merely been expanded again, in this case by another 11 songs, and given a new title. Maybe they should have called this "Mini-Ultra," as that EP remains the centerpiece of this CD's early going. Yet it's the 11 "new" tracks that steal the show, suggesting that the Saturnalia period was even more of an inspired period for David Gedge and his latest lineup than the Fall-inspired Mini. Of all the hoppin' singles, compilation cuts, and tribute tracks, "2, 3, Go" and "Project Cenzo" positively cook with the speed, breakneck rush, and steamroller-falling-down-a-hill feel of the George Best days. Likewise, a cover of the Cheers theme is surprisingly great compared to the maudlin original. Live versions of the early single "My Favorite Dress" and Bizarro favorite "Brassneck" both slam and smack with in-the-pocket grooves. And, as usual, one always gets the benefit of Gedge's romantic war on himself. If his lyrics at all mirror his own experience, the sad sack singer has been left shaking in shattered silence and tattered nerves 100 times since 1985. In the end, this argues that The Wedding Present is not an idea that's been exhausted over 12 years plus.

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