The Wedding Present

El Rey

Here is what’s misunderstood about David Gedge, the lovelorn, love-obsessed singer/songwriter behind The Wedding Present: Despite a predilection for first-person narrative, Gedge is not about self-absorption, but absorbing. His sharp, aching accounts of relationship interruptus are observational as much as they are personal. Somewhere, a boy pines for a girl. She considers, consummates with heated breath, then re-considers. He laments. Meanwhile, Gedge stands nearby, furiously scribbling it all down. Tracks like “Santa Ana Winds” and “Model, Actress, Whatever …” find the Weddoes frontman making everyone else’s heartache his own. And there’s “The Thing I Like Best About Him Is His Girlfriend,” where the normally furtive and innuendo-stuffed Gedge turns Ric Ocasek-like blunt. But while El Rey displays a familiar thematic approach to words and expression, the same isn’t true for the music. Even with Steve Albini (producer of the Weddoes’ masterstroke Seamonsters) on deck, the overdubbed, manic guitars and recurrent tempo changes on “Palisades” and “Boo Boo” lack vitality. And for the ever-amorous Gedge, that’s troubling. Pass the little blue pills.