Acoustic Sounds

The Wedding Present

24 Songs



The Wedding Present 24 songs

Label: Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records

Produced By: The Wedding Present

Engineered By: Tobias May

Mixed By: Tobias May

Mastered By: Xavier Alarcón

Lacquers Cut By: Nashville Record Productions

By: JoE Silva

October 4th, 2023



Falling In Love The Wedding Present Again

"24 Songs" Singles Project Collected Onto 3-LP Set

1992…the beginning of SoundScan and the year that CD sales reached well over 400 million. And while a huge chunk of that went to 300 people who got production credits on “The Bodyguard” soundtrack, The Wedding Present launched a 12-month campaign to release a new single every month that affirmed David Gedge’s love of 7” vinyl. The band’s singer/songwriter then watched as the entire run sold out and they’d wind up equaling Elvis’ record for the most hits in a calendar year.

30 years on, as a way to commemorate the effort that became known as “The Hit Parade”, the band did it again – with the results now being collected up into a triple (insert gasp here…) album. The latest incarnation of the band features the recent addition of Sleeper’s Jon Stewart, who brought guitar as well as a number of musical ideas to the fold. From the opening 6:37 minutes given over to “I Am Not Going To Fall In Love With You” and onwards, the results are way impressive.

 The Wedding Present are still strummy in the indie way that defined their first releases – simple chord progressions that Gedge manages to repeatedly elevate by his undiminished nose for melody. But then you also have the dynamics laid into “That Would Only Happen In A Movie” – power chords shrewdly offset by acoustic passages and the sweet voice of bassist Melanie Howard. Whenever her gently contrasting backing vocals drop in behind Gedge, the added emotional dimensions are instantaneous. She is startling in the way Kim Deal so often managed to be inside The Pixies.

Gedge made the decision to not sequence the tracks here in the order that they were released as singles: “I decided not to sequence the tracks in chronological order. With six sides of vinyl, you have six ‘beginnings’ and six ‘ends’ to play with, and I felt that the opportunity to build some kind of a musical journey was too good to miss!

So on the LP we get the sawing guitars of “We Interrupt Our Programme” flowing smartly into the catchy, midtempo valentine dialogue of “We Should Be Together.” There are quick, high energy moments like the 2:17 “Strike!” as well as much longer drama-infused cuts like “Each Time You Open Your Eyes.” But the big gut punch for us was the revved-up guitar hooks that get “Don’t Give Up Without A Fight” up and off the launchpad. Even with the mildly cutesy “2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate?” lyric, this is an unstoppable track that reinforces how good The Wedding Present still are as they creep closer and closer to their 40th anniversary.

The black vinyl promo that landed in our inbox was revelatory in that all the mid-range presence that we didn’t realize we were missing with the streaming version was restored. While not heavy weight this pressing from the ADS Group up in Plymouth, Minnesota is very quiet and comes in at around 135g per disc. HHBTM Records has also done a “Deluxe” version done on three light blue vinyl discs that also includes a DVD, poster, plus a slipmat and a 1” button. Over in the U.K., Leeds-based Clue Records Clue records have issued mint green and grey versions of the set along with a hand-numbered 7” collection that gathers up the original 12 singles in a nice linen box.

At this stage of their career, “24 Songs” is a triumph. More importantly, perhaps, it also leaves you feeling compelled to return to other parts of their extensive catalog (like the excellent “Mini” EP from 1996…) to dig for whatever other high points you may have missed.


Interview with The Wedding Present's David Gedge

Tracking Angle: Apart from The Fall, it seems like The Wedding Present have had more line-up shifts than most bands. How do you, as the mainstay, manage to cope with it?

David Gedge: It’s not always a positive experience because somebody's leaving the band whether of their own voltion or whether they've been asked to leave, it's always sad. Because when you're in a group you’ve got that artistic kind of relationship and also you're with people so much in the studio, in the van, in the concert… in the hotel you create these bonds with people. And then suddenly they leave the band and you never see them again. That's a bit of an exaggeration (but) you just don't see them quite as often as you as you did previously so it's difficult. (And) it's hard to find new people. Don't get me wrong, I think I would have preferred not having all these lineup changes over the years…it would been a lot easier but sometimes it's benefited the group.

TA: Now you’ve written a lot of songs but was there a point once you set out to do “24 Songs” where you felt like ‘Ooh, I’m a bit stuck here for material’?

DG: I kind of felt more like that with “The Hit Parade” actually because that was a quicker turnaround. We only had the idea to do that at the end of 1991, so we literally had like…three songs. Whereas this time although not all the songs were written, there was more of a lead time because we were aware of the turnarounds for vinyl production, which as you know is ridiculous these days. So we did have to plan a bit more in advance but also it did come at another of those points where we had a new member in. This time it was Jon Stewart, who's also in Sleeper and he joined the band just before you know this project started really. So he was he was sending me ideas every day. He was like ‘Oh I've got this riff!’ And sometimes he’d send me like a whole project with with a verse and a chorus and a middle eight and everything. So I had no shortage of inspiration there. It was just a case of me adding my bits really. It was a very prolific period actually.

TA: What about the last track that’s on the record called “Teper My Hovorymo”, which I guess was done for a Ukranian charity of some sort?

DG: Well Peter Solowkawas The Wedding Present guitarist from the very beginning until 1991 I think and then he went on to form this band called The Ukrainians who play Ukrainian folk music basically. And then obviously with the current War that's going on over there there's Ukrainian refugees. And you know given the nature of the people in that band they wanted to do you know some kind of benefit record (“Together For Ukraine”). So it's songs that have been written by The Ukrainians but then covered by other bands so they invited us to do that. I've kept in touch with Peter over the years and because he lives in Yorkshire he was down south for the WOMAD festival called and I just said ‘Well if you're in town near to Brighton come in in the studio and you can play your bit and it'll be a nice little complete the circle (kind of thing).”

Music Specifications

Catalog No: HHBTM225

Pressing Plant: The ADS Group

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 140 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Presentation: Multi LP