10 March 2013

The Wedding Present - George Best

This album has been haunting me for the last few years.  Not because I love it or I need to have it and it is a personal favourite.  I have not even listened to it before today.  No, it is just every time I have been record shopping this record has either been suggested when online shopping (which is strange as I have never ordered or own a Wedding Present album) or it has been in pretty much every record shop asking to be bought.  Now I have nothing against them - they doing a really good cover of "Make Me Smile (Come Up & See Me)" and their chart run in 1992 when they released a 7" single once a month and deleted it the next day was also interesting to watch.  It was like other things, you have other things going on, other bands taking your attention.  Also, I have to really be in the mood for this type of indie, so today is the day I finally sit down and listen to their debut, 'George Best'.

Produced with Chris Allison (who has also produced The Beta Band, Ned's Atomic Dustbin & Coldplay (shhhh, no booing)) this first came out on their own label in 1987.  Back then, you really did have indie labels that were not just subsidiaries’ of major labels to make the band seem cool and hip.  The album did have conflict because of tensions between Mr Allison and the group's drummer at the time Shaun Charman (who was later sacked) in regards to the production sound quality.  Whilst it is a bit on the jangly side, it is the sort of music they were doing; the production job is perfect for the music, unlike the Bronx album. Actually, this sounds more punk that the Bronx - there is passion here, there is a few off notes (sometimes that makes an album better, makes it more human/personal), it has more of a gang mentality and bite in it.  Maybe this is because the studio engineer for the album (Mr Steve Lyon) remixed and turned in a quality piece of British indie.

Trying to pick stand out tracks on this album is actually very hard.  Not because there is no stand out tracks, it because the whole album is a stand out album, for the type of music it is.  Now, the version I have been listening to on Spotify is the remastered version with an extra tracks. To give you a picture of how many extra tracks, the original release was 12 tracks long; this version is 23 tracks long.  So value for money on this one.  However, even on the original 12, it is a very hard album not to love. I would also warn people that it is a niche record, I cannot see hipsters and people who want the latest phone and music players going for this, it is just too unassuming for that sort of crowd.  This is for people who love music, not fashion statements.

David Gedge (the band's singer and only constant member) has such a distinctive voice, not the most gifted of singer to be fair, but he can still hold a tune and makes the songs feel like home. The whole album is fantastic and it is like an over excited puppy with a Northern English sense of humour, which for me is very easy to get.  I have found it very hard to find a fault with this album, there is just a constant energy which has lifted the whole mood of the day.  Whilst not an out and out classic, the album just hits all the right buttons which is what you need sometimes.  Every now and then you need something that is standard, not trying to change the world, just make it a more fun place.  Maybe the next time I see it when record shopping I will just get it.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

You can purchase from here

You can listen to it here on Spotify

Whilst you may not be able to buy the album directly from the band, they also have lots of other stuff

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