Although it was a few years into their career before they came upon the defining idea of releasing one single a month for an entire year (brilliantly summed up on the two-part Hit Parade), the Wedding Present were, from the very beginning, a singles band first and foremost. Shortly after the often-excellent but spotty George Best, the band gathered all of their pre-LP singles and EPs onto one handy 12-track disc. Tommy (1985-1987) is not only the definitive look at the early Wedding Present, it's one of the great albums of the mid-'80s U.K. indie scene. The speedy rush of the rhythm section, David Gedge's artless vocals and everyday-life lyrics, and most importantly, Pete Solowka's inimitable guitar style (on a scene where seemingly everyone else was mimicking Johnny Marr, Solowka's manic up-and-down strum was instantly recognizable) were so important to the development of this style of music that without these singles, things likely would have sounded very, very different. All 12 tracks are essential indie pop, but particular highlights include the definitive reading of Orange Juice's "Felicity," the emotional depths of "My Favourite Dress," and the breakneck, hurtling pace of "Go out and Get 'Em, Boy!" This record is part of the British indie canon, every bit as historically and musically important as the Postcard label singles and the Smiths' Hatful of Hollow.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason