The Wedding Present – Singles 1989-1991

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 4)

I don’t understand the UK singles market; I find it confusing that any one song can be released in so many different formats, and it all seems like a bit of a scam. I heartily welcome compilations like this, even though there is inevitable overlap with the albums . . . provided the record company doesn’t fuck it up.

What I Think of This Album

At 33 tracks spread out over two CDs, you can’t complain about value. Of course, some of these songs are already captured on studio albums, but there is just enough here to entice a serious fan (and no one else needs to purchase this). The bigger problem is that Manifesto did a shit job with this pressing. The sonics of this release are terrible – comparing the (non-live) songs here with their counterparts on the albums reveals a tinny, thin, anemic sound. This really is an insult to the consumer, as well as the artist.

The first disc consists of the band’s five RCA singles and B-sides, all from the Bizarro and Seamonsters era. Thus, A-sides “Kennedy,” “Brassneck,” and “Dalliance” are superfluous, and my version of Bizarro already included the three “Brassneck” B-sides; plus, it turns out that Seamonsters track “Corduroy” is a Three Songs B-side. This leaves ten new songs, and a single edit of Seamonster’s track “Lovenest.”

Of those ten songs, four are covers. Of the six originals, “One Day This Will All Be Yours” is a breakneck track whose lack of melody is almost compensated for by the impressive speed of the drumming and strumming. “Unfaithful” fares better, a still-slight song that would have snugly sat amongst the tracks on George Best. A true gem, the complex and compelling “Crawl” could have been a standout Bizarro song; the guitars on this are splendid. Another winner is the shifting “Niagara,” with a classic Gedge vocal and some emotion behind the changes in tempo. “Dan Dare” is a strange title, but it’s a really fun instrumental with a great lead guitar part; this likewise would’ve been a superb addition to Bizarro, even without lyrics. The even more strangely titled “Fleshworld” (seriously?) again is a drumming showcase, and the early guitar part is cool, but the song never really develops. With a little more work, though, this could’ve been something good.

The covers include a quadruple-time version of Tom Jones’s hit “It’s Not Unusual,” which is ridiculous; and “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” a tune I admit I was not familiar with, though the Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel song has also been covered by Duran Duran and Erasure. This is a pretty good song! The cover of the Velvet Underground’s “She’s My Best Friend” is fairly faithful and thus pointless. “Mothers” is a Jean-Paul Sartre Experience song, and I don’t know the original, but the cover is decent and the drumming is cool.

The second disc is basically rarities and live tracks. “I’m Not Always So Stupid” was actually included on my version of George Best, and “Crushed” was on Bizarro, leaving thirteen new tracks, nine of which are live recordings from 1990 spanning the George Best and Bizarro discs. Three of the remaining four songs are covers. So “Blue Eyes” is the only truly new song here, and it’s very good. Penetration’s “Don’t Dictate” is the first cover, and that’s a tough one to improve on – Gedge can’t compete with Pauline Murray’s vocals. “Cumberland Gap” is an even weirder choice, and indeed, it’s silly filler. “Signal” is an instrumental by Pell Mell, another education for me, but again, not really a song anyone needs to hear twice. The live tracks are all worth it – they are a great batch of songs and the band certainly does them justice.

The Best Thing About This Album

“Crawl” beats out “Dan Dare” by a nose.

Release Date

March, 1999

The Cover Art

In light of how poorly Manifesto handled the sound on this album, I am not surprised they put zero thought into the cover art.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑