Cinerama – Va Va Voom

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

Cinerama represented a rebirth for David Gedge, who by 1996’s tired Saturnalia, had put the Wedding Present through all the reasonable (and some unreasonable) twists and turns he could. Teaming up with girlfriend Sally Murrell, Gedge launched Cinerama, the aptly named chamber pop project. Gedge fortunately stuck to his comfortable themes of love, lust, betrayal, romance, infidelity, and heartbreak, but the new setting seemed to invigorate him, and Murrell’s voice was a warm, welcome (sometimes counterbalancing) presence.

What I Think of This Album

David Gedge and Sally Murrell offer up eleven orchestral pop nuggets that explore all aspects of interpersonal romantic relationships. The credits don’t seem to tell the full story of how this all came to be, however. Gedge and Murrell get a “performed by” credit right underneath the track listing, which seems generous. Meanwhile, the dozen plus contributing musicians receive a tepid “additional playing” nod. No word on who exactly arranged these intricate pieces, which would seem to be critical – otherwise, Gedge and Murrell could’ve just played these songs on guitars. In fact, the music is magnificent and Gedge comes up with lyrics to match.

“Comedienne” is almost straightforward jangle pop, propulsive and exciting, with some strings behind it and Murrell’s lovely backing vocals. “Maniac” is packed with dark, deadpan humor as it explores toxic masculinity (hence the title). “Hate” has some delightfully delicate percussion as well as a gentle organ, and Gedge half-convincingly declares his hatred for his lover’s “style,” “smile,” “country,” and “continent.”

The cinematic strings on “Kerry Kerry” are heart-stirring, and Murrell’s background coos are to die for; the percussion touches here are also noteworthy. The pop confection of “You Turn Me On” is perfectly composed. Emma Pollock of the Delgados sings on the lush “Ears,” an exploration of disloyalty. Pollock’s vocals were always the best thing about the Delgados. Gedge gets downright romantic on the sweet and carnal “Dance, Girl, Dance,” which glides by on heavenly strings.

My disc adds two bonus tracks:  the swoon-worthy “Love” (with a starring role for Pollock) and “Au Pair,” equally ridiculous and sad (“He fell in love with the au pair / When she ran her fingers through his hair”).

Marty Willson-Piper of the Church contributes guitar to the album, as does Animals That Swim and the Church producer Dare Mason. Speaking of Animals That Swim, their drummer and trumpeter – Anthony Coote and Derek Crabtree – also lend a hand. The connections continue with guest violinist Rachel Davies, who also played on the Animals That Swim album I Was the King, I Really Was the King. Cellist Julia Palmer had played with Billy Bragg.

The band thanks former Wedding Present drummers Simon Smith and Shaun Charman in the liner notes.

The Best Thing About This Album

The arrangements, whoever the fuck dreamt them up.

Release Date

October, 1998

The Cover Art

This is a good cover. I dig the colors, the composition, and the vaguely ‘60’s imagery. I don’t love the font for the band name, but I can forgive it.

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