The Wedding Present, 'El Rey' (Manifesto)

7
El Rey
Critical Mass
Label: Manifesto

by Josh Modell

The Wedding Present's greatest days are in the rear view: ReenlistingSteve Albini -- who recorded the band's pinnacle of dark Britishness, 1991'sSeamonsters -- tacitly admits that fact but flips it into a plus. Their latest album in a career that spans 20-plus years travels the same boy-lusts-after-girl terrain, but singer/ songwriter David Gedge embraces his noir side with chugging, irritable guitars. He sounds too lecherously happy -- "Model, Actress, Whatever" is a paean to a JPEG -- to reach the emotional depths of his best work, but for lessons in proto-Brit-rock, he remains a top authority.

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