The Wedding Present- Take Fountain(Manifesto)
review by Joe del Tufo

Track Listing

1. Interstate 5 [Extended Version]
2. Always the Quiet One
3. I'm from Further North Than You
4. Mars Sparkles Down On Me
5. Ringway to Seatac
6. Don't Touch That Dial [Pacific Northwest Version] [Version]
7. It's for You
8. Larry's
9. Queen Anne
10. Perfect Blue

The first release in over eight years from The Wedding Present arrives as the sum of many parts. For those who haven’t been following, The Wedding Present released several seminal alternative discs in the 90s, including the alternately jangly and ferocious Bizarro and the massive Steve Albini-produced masterpiece Seamonsters. The band broke up after the release of the mostly underwhelming Saturnalia and frontman David Gedge went on to create three discs under the moniker Cinerama. After the dissolve of Gedge’s relationship with Cinerama co-founder Sally Murrell, Gedge dissolved Cinerama and took the songs he’d been working on as the start of a new Wedding Present release. So, strangely, Take Fountain arrives as something of a hybrid beast, encompassing all of the standard busted-relationship sensibility that made Cinerama great, and returning to some of the more aggressive instrumentation that The Wedding Present made their name on.

At heart, Gedge is just an edgier, more heart worn Lloyd Cole, hiding his pain behind layers of electric guitar. Indeed, the band name has always been laced with a level of irony that the lyrics quickly brought to the fore. On Take Fountain, with the fresh wound of ended relationship, Gedge finds himself on familiar creative ground.

The epic Interstate 5 kicks off Take Fountain sounding very much like something from their final Saturnalia release. The guitars are more prevalent than we heard on the Cinerama discs, and it is more lyrically immediately that anything we’ve heard from Gedge in some time. It reminds me of the better parts of the final Cinerama release, Torino, with just enough of the Seamonsters element to make it interesting.

I once asked Gedge in an interview why nearly all of his songs seemed to be about relationships. He thought about it for a moment, and then replied, “well, what else is there?” In addition to relationships (but not unrelated) Gedge has had a long affair with cars and travel as themes in his music. On Take Fountain, we see a return to that theme. With track titles like Interstate 5, Ringway to Seatac and Don’t Touch That Dial, it’s clear we’re back on the road with David, and the conversation is likely to be rife with unease. "How can I just shake his hand when it's been all over your skin?"he pines on Mars Sparkles Down On Me.

One unfortunate note is the omission of the instrumental opening track on the overseas version- On Ramp. This was the one track that, to this listener, stood out as something entirely novel in a Wedding Present release- a dreamy, cinematic piece that set a nice (albeit inappropriate) tone for the disc.

After only a few listens, there is a lot to like about Take Fountain. It does not have the immediacy of say a Bizarro or a Seamonsters, but it revisits many of the best moments from both Cinerama and The Wedding Present. Fans of the band will likely find everything they are looking for here, occasionally in unexpected places, but surely there is nothing to disappoint here. It’s doubtful the release of Take Fountain will create a new swell of followers, just a celebration and tip of the hat to a band that has returned with another solid collection of new material.

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