The Wedding Present – O2 Academy 7/10
A CERTAIN bread company market themselves with the adage: "As good today as it's always been." In a lot of ways, you could say the same about The Wedding Present's 1991 album Seamonsters.
Still rated by many as probably the band's seminal work, famed American producer Steve Albini helped to create a much more intense sound than the jangly play-it-really-quick pop that was a hallmark of their previous two albums.
The title does the music justice, for it takes you to sometimes dark and menacing places, although most of the songs – all of them with one-word titles – deal with songwriter David Gedges' usual predilection for relationships and their many foibles.
They played the original album in its entirety on their return to Bristol, although as Gedge laughingly remarked: "It's not really an enjoyable album, is it?"
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That may have been one of the reasons that the audience were probably a little less boisterous than on the band's previous Bristol outing, although there is no doubt that Gedge – and the latest format of a line-up that has seen myriad changes over 27 years – can still cut the mustard.
Seamonsters was preceded by a clutch of other songs – with the opener End Credits and Deer Caught In The Headlights both coming from their latest offering Valentina and given plenty of oomph. "Now we're rocking," remarked Gedge after the latter.
The familiar opening chords of Dalliance produced murmurs of anticipation among devotees as the group launched into a powerful performance of Seamonsters, with Blonde and Octopussy among the highpoints.
Elsewhere, Swiss bassist Pepe Le Moko displayed her vocal talents to good effect with a version of Klee's Erinner Dich – drawn from Gedge's Cinerama period – sung in German – and the marvellous My Favourite Dress also getting a welcome outing.
It was encouraging to see some younger people appreciating the evening alongside the usual phalanx of balding middle-aged blokes that nowadays make up a fair proportion of The Wedding Present's audience.
Proof, perhaps, that there is something in that bread slogan.