We all have musical sweet spots, things we like so much that we just eat up anything that fits into those sweet spots. This album, the first I have ever heard by The Wedding Present, hits me in a few of mine. And I left wondering, not for the first time, why it took me so damn long to listen to a band I can’t help but like.I know nothing of the band, what
they sounded like before this album, which is apparently rougher around the edges. (Shocking, given the man who produced…sorry, I mean, “engineered” it.) But I know that this is an aesthetic I am a real sucker for, an aesthetic I associate far more with American music than British. Gedge sort of speak-sings, while the drums hammer away, with a little bit of guitar and then, suddenly, much louder guitars. At times, they feel like they are going to fall apart, other times they feel like they might just fall asleep.
Gedge’s songs are fine. They are probably better than fine but I like the aesthetic enough that I don’t care. I suspect they are the kind of songs that will grow on me once I’ve listened to the album enough. But it’s quite easy for me to imagine a different aesthetic with the same songs where I just don’t like it as much. (Okay, I like “Blonde” for sure.)
If I have one criticism it’s the mastering (I think). Like some other albums Albini has made, this one is quieter than it should be. I suspect Albini’s response would be that I should play it loud. But this isn’t the first album he’s um, engineered, that I’ve had to turn up in comparison to every other album I’m listening to right now to get the full effect. It’s a really minor quibble, especially when you’re listening on headphones, but it’s a little weird, right?
Anyway, this record is great. And I wish I had listened to it sooner. Given what I’ve read about their other music, I’m not sure I’ll like the rest of it as much, but I’m very happy to have discovered this band and I will be checking out their other albums.