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coverpic flag England - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 24 - 10/05/98

Cinerama
Va Va Voom
Cooking Vinyl Records

After over ten years of making loud guitar music with his excellent band The Wedding Present, lead man and songwriter David Gedge has this year released his first "solo" album.

Without wishing to belittle the input of the other band members (particularly Simon Smith for his unbeatable drumming), most fans consider the Wedding Present to be David Gedge's band anyway, so a "solo" project under a different name has to sound different. And it does, sort of.

Wedding Present songs are often fantastic pop songs set in a 2 guitar, bass and drum format. To my ears, all the songs on Va Va Voom could become Weddoes' tunes, with a touch of re-arrangement. Lyrically it's the same journey of relationships gone sour, unrequited love etc. sung in a simple and conversational style. For example one of the stand out tracks, Hard Fast And Beautiful is a close lyrical relative of the Wedding Present song Gazebo - your first love is always special, no matter how hard you try to deny it.

The key difference is the presentation and Gedge has obviously been researching pop history. Out with the feeback, in with the acoustics, the pianos, strings and flutes. Add female vocals (Cinerama is officially a duo of Gedge and long term girlfriend Sally Murrell), a few guests, notably The Delgados Emma Pollock, and you have the perfect recipe for POP!

Think Saint Etienne, New Order, Belle & Sebastian and you're not far away from the texture of this album. A few listens and you're hooked, and you'll find yourself singing along in no time.

I've read that Gedge is a little disappointed with the sound and now wishes it sounded more panoramic (cineramic even), and it's easy to see why. What started as a solo lo-fi project where he intended to use as few outside musicians as possible, has perhaps been more succesful than he first imagined. Cinerama are now very much a band. I hear they're even embarking on a mini tour of the USA.

If Cinerama will achieve commercial success is difficult to judge. The Wedding Present haven't enjoyed support from the press for many years now, and although the album has received positive reviews, Gedge has never played the media game.

This project is nevertheless a testimony to his never ending ambition. It's so clear that he enjoys performing and after ten years of cranking the guitars up he can hardly be blamed for taking a new direction. He has been at pains to stress that Cinerama is not the end of the Wedding Present and terrific as this new project sounds, it would be a shame if I never heard classics like Crawl and Corduroy sung live again.

As a side project possibly designed to recharge the creative and enthusiastic batteries, Va Va Voom is a thoroughly welcome addition to my collection. A success.

Copyright © 1998 Craig Scrogie e-mail address

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