Photo Credit Jessica McMillan
With the impact of Covid-19 on the music industry showing no signs of abating, musicians and music fans around the globe are being forced to get creative, so it comes as no surprise that indie legends The Wedding Present – led by the unparalleled David Gedge – have turned their hands to facilitating a more virtual existence for our listening pleasure.
Released 19th February 2021 via Scopitones, Locked Down And Stripped Back includes twelve home recordings of Wedding Present favourites along with two previously unreleased songs: ‘You’re Just A Habit That I’m Trying To Break’ and ‘We Should Be Together’. The latter was originally recorded – but never released – by Britpop favourites, Sleeper. With each band member recording and filming their parts at home due to lockdown restrictions, the recording process was far from easy, but the end result is, as always, typically satisfying.
“As the summer of 2020 wore on it became increasingly obvious that ‘At The Edge of The Sea’ – my annual festival in Brighton – was sadly going the way of other live music events. Following its cancellation, I decided to replace it with an ‘online’ version, presented live from my own living room and featuring home-recorded videos from many of the artists that had appeared at the festival over the years. For The Wedding Present’s contribution, we picked twelve tracks to re-work in a ‘semi-acoustic’ style, and it was fascinating to see how stripped-back arrangements brought out different aspects of the songs. The Seamonsters track ‘Blonde’ was a prime example of this, with a ‘just-two-guitars’ approach resulting in a naïve and moving interpretation,” says Gedge.
To celebrate the official album announcement, The Wedding Present are pleased to share a truly epic reworking of ‘Crawl’, a track taken from the 3 Songs EP released back in 1990.
“People are always telling me that ‘Crawl’ is one of their favourite songs. So why didn’t we put it on an album? Well, in Wedding Present world we’ve never had throwaway songs that we bury on B-sides and this is a case in point. We wanted to make our ‘3 Songs EP’ [RCA, 1990] as strong as possible and so we just put it on there. I think the interplay between the electric guitar and bass works really well. I played acoustic guitar on both the original, at the Chicago Recording Company, and on this stripped back version – 30 years later – in my spare room at home!” says Gedge.
The Wedding Present
‘The Wedding Present: Locked Down And Stripped Back’
Album released 19th February 2021 via Scopitones
From the swagger of ‘A Million Miles’ (George Best, 1987) and ‘California’ (Hit Parade, 1992), to the joyous, previously unreleased ‘We Should Be Together’ – featuring a special guest appearance from Sleeper singer Louise Wener – Locked Down And Stripped Back is an unexpected treat. Elsewhere, a re-working of ‘You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends’ – originally released as a single in 1986 – and a truly epic version of ‘Crawl’ (3 Songs EP, 1990), despite their ‘stripped back’ delivery, still pack a proverbial punch, while ‘You’re Just A Habit That I’m Trying to Break’ – a new song co-written with new guitarist Jon Stewart – is classic Wedding Present. Furthermore, bassist Melanie Howard takes over vocal duties on the sumptuous ‘Sports Car’ (Mini, 1995), while none of Gedge’s famous sardonic wit is lost on the majestic ‘My Favourite Dress’ (George Best, 1987).
Forming in 1985, The Wedding Present are one of the UK’s most longstanding and much-loved indie bands, with eighteen British Top 40 hit singles and numerous albums to their name. From debut album George Best, “an unmitigated delight” (NME) – the first full-length release on their own Reception Records onwards – the band has charted an appealing, if often eccentric, course of its very own. The band released their ninth studio album, Going, Going…, to critical acclaim in 2016.
In 2017, to commemorate the 30th anniversary George Best, The Wedding Present released George Best 30, featuring new versions of the original twelve songs, recorded by Steve Albini. 2017 also saw the publication of Sometimes These Words Just Don’t Have To Be Said – a 450 page ‘fanthology’ of the band.
In 2018, KneejerkFilm released Something Left Behind – a feature length documentary telling the story of the George Best album. The film, which featured interviews with all four original band members, appeared at several film festivals.
In 2019, The Wedding Present released Tommy 30 which was comprised of new versions of the early songs featured on their first singles compilation Tommy (1988). In the summer of 2019 Gedge fulfilled a long held ambition by releasing a Wedding Present picture disc entitled Jump in, The Water’s Fine, which featured specially commissioned artwork by Darren Hayman. 2019 also saw the publication of Sleevenotes, a book in which Gedge described the background to his songwriting and recording.
2020 will see the release of Go Out And Get ’Em, Boy! – the first volume of Gedge’s official autobiography (it’s in comic book form!) and Not From Where I’m Standing – a charity album of Bond themes recorded by past and present members of The Wedding Present. A crowd-funder set up for a musical to be based on Gedge’s songs was also recently reached and is now in development.
All twelve Wedding Present ‘lockdown videos’ are available to view on YouTube at WeddingPresentTV
‘A Million Miles’ (Originally appeared on George Best, 1987)
‘California’ (Originally appeared on the Hit Parade, 1992)
‘Starry Eyed’ (Originally appeared on Cinerama’s Torino, 2002)
‘We Should Be Together’ ft. Louise Wener (Previously unreleased)
‘You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends’ (Originally released as a single, 1986)
‘Granadaland’ (Originally appeared on Bizarro, 1989)
‘You’re Just A Habit That I’m Trying To Break’ (Previously unreleased)
‘Crawl’ (Originally appeared on the ‘3 Songs EP’, 1990)
‘Sports Car’ (Originally appeared on ‘Mini’, 1995)
‘Deer Caught In The Headlights’ (Originally appeared on Valentina, 2012)
‘Blonde’ (Originally appeared on Seamonsters, 1991)
‘My Favourite Dress’ (Originally appeared on George Best, 1987)