The Wedding Present: Going, Going...

More than 30 years on, David Gedge and the Wedding Present remain a vital voice in the world of noisy indie pop.

The Wedding Present

Going, Going…

Label: Scopitones
US Release Date: 2016-09-02
UK Release Date: 2016-09-02

A sort of last band standing, the Wedding Present have not only defied the odds stacked against those groups originally lumped under the C86 tag, but they've continued to evolve their sound beyond the jangly indie rock of the makeshift genre tag. The Wedding Present of 2016 is a far different animal than that of, say, their George Best era. Never the most twee of the twee, the band has continued to explore and refine its muscular brand of blustery indie pop over the last several decades. Hooks and melodies abound, but they coexist with guitar chords being played to within an inch of their lives in terms of both ferocity and freneticism.

An ambitious project, Going, Going…, the band’s ninth studio album in some 30 plus years, functions as the audio component of their A/V work for which the group created 20 corresponding films. Somewhat brazenly, they open the album with four straight instrumentals (!) before David Gedge’s voice is even heard. Though impressive in their own right, the absence of their visual component begs the question as to whether one can exist truly independently of the other without the original intent being somewhat compromised. Fortunately, there's enough going on in each to still be able to function as standalone performances not wholly dependent upon their visual counterparts. Nonetheless, Going, Going… could have used a bit of editing to tighten everything up into a more effective package.

That said, there’s no shortage of near-perfect moments here for those who like their indie pop on the heavy, noisier side. The thrashing-ly distorted sound established on their career-redefining Seamonsters continues its noisy evolutionary path towards noise pop perfection as massive walls of guitars reign supreme throughout. Nearly every track functions as a prolonged crescendo into explosive bombast, the point being to heighten the inherent emotionality within each, deploying the final push over the edge at just the right moment to achieve pure pop bliss.

“Two Bridges” sets the tone for the remainder of the album and could well serve as the album’s true starting point despite sitting in fifth position. Here, Gedge and company get back to doing what they do best with their tightly wound, highly melodic noise pop. Always a master tunesmith with both the Wedding Present and Cinerama, Gedge shows himself to have lost nary a step, somehow managing to wring new life out of a tried and true formula.

The piano break on “Broken Bow”, a track largely dominated by layered, raging guitars, affords but one of the album's many unexpectedly beautiful, almost heartbreakingly delicate and fragile moments. Coming few and far between, each causes the listener's breath to catch as the constant onslaught of distortion is radically stopped to reveal the beauty underneath. It is this approach that has allowed the Wedding Present to not only remain a vital link to the glory days of indie pop, but also a truly thrilling act in their own right, separate from any scenes or eras.

On “Rachel”, Gedge utilizes this formula to maximum impact, the final triumphant chorus a cloudburst that carriers the track well over the edge, his voice sounding as emotionally resonant as ever. Though ultimately a bit long -- the 10-minute plus closer “Santa Monica” could have been trimmed and the four opening instrumentals cut for a more cohesive whole -- Going, Going… nevertheless shows the Wedding Present to still be a viable, vital force some 30 years on. And compared with their peers, the majority of whom are being anthologized rather than releasing new material, that’s saying something.






The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.


PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.


David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.


David Lord Salutes Collaborators With "Cloud Ear" (premiere)

David Lord teams with Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground) for a new collection of sweeping, frequently meditative compositions. The results are jazz for a still-distant future that's still rooted in tradition.


Laraaji Takes a "Quiet Journey" (premiere +interview)

Afro Transcendentalist Laraaji prepares his second album of 2020, the meditative Moon Piano, recorded inside a Brooklyn church. The record is an example of what the artist refers to as "pulling music from the sky".


Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.


The Band of Heathens Find That Life Keeps Getting 'Stranger'

The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.


Landowner's 'Consultant' Is OCD-Post-Punk With Obsessive Precision

Landowner's Consultant has all the energy of a punk-rock record but none of the distorted power chords.


NYFF: 'American Utopia' Sets a Glorious Tone for Our Difficult Times

Spike Lee's crisp concert film of David Byrne's Broadway show, American Utopia, embraces the hopes and anxieties of the present moment.


South Africa's Phelimuncasi Thrill with Their Gqom Beats on '2013-2019'

A new Phelimuncasi anthology from Nyege Nyege Tapes introduces listeners to gqom and the dancefloors of Durban, South Africa.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Wolf Parade's 'Apologies to the Queen Mary' Turns 15

Wolf Parade's debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary, is an indie rock classic. It's a testament to how creative, vital, and exciting the indie rock scene felt in the 2000s.


Literary Scholar Andrew H. Miller On Solitude As a Common Bond

Andrew H. Miller's On Not Being Someone Else considers how contemplating other possibilities for one's life is a way of creating meaning in the life one leads.


Fransancisco's "This Woman's Work" Cover Is Inspired By Heartache (premiere)

Indie-folk brothers Fransancisco dedicate their take on Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" to all mothers who have lost a child.


Rodd Rathjen Discusses 'Buoyancy', His Film About Modern Slavery

Rodd Rathjen's directorial feature debut, Buoyancy, seeks to give a voice to the voiceless men and boys who are victims of slavery in Southeast Asia.


Hear the New, Classic Pop of the Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" (premiere)

The Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" is a pop tune, but pop as heard through ears more attuned to AM radio's glory days rather than streaming playlists and studio trickery.


Blitzen Trapper on the Afterlife, Schizophrenia, Civil Unrest and Our Place in the Cosmos

Influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Blitzen Trapper's new album Holy Smokes, Future Jokes plumbs the comedic horror of the human condition.


Chris Smither's "What I Do" Is an Honest Response to Old Questions (premiere + interview)

How does Chris Smither play guitar that way? What impact does New Orleans have on his music? He might not be able to answer those questions directly but he can sure write a song about it.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.