The Wedding Present
Jump In, the Water’s Fine single
The Wedding Present are an institution in British rock’n’roll. They were originally formed away back in 1985 in Leeds by David Gedge, who is also the only consistent member in the band over the past 34 years. Their début album, George Best, released back in 1988, remains a classic of the indie rock scene. It is a masterpiece. The Wedding Present have evolved from a basic post-punk band wearing their influences on their sleeves (most notably the Buzzcocks) to a more varied, multi-faceted band. Their last album, 2016’s Going, Going really saw Gedge, et al. step out of their usual comfort zone, as the first four tracks, taken together, are a beautiful suite of almost atmospheric music. And then the guitars kick in. And that’s what defines this band, buzzing, towering guitars.
They also have the distinction of tying Elvis Presley’s record of 7 Top 30 singles on the British charts in 1992.
As much as I loved George Best, it was 1994’s Watusi that got me hooked on The Wedding Present. From start to finish, this album just grabbed me and I listened the hell out of it. My roommates, coincidentally, hated The Wedding Present. My fault, entirely. And they also put on a kick ass live show.
Gedge will be 60 next spring, which is a scary thought. The current iteration of The Wedding Present includes: drummer Charles Layton, who has been the full-time drummer since 2009, though he also played drums back in 2005; Danielle Wadley joined on bass in 2016, but she has since switched to guitar (which Gedge also provides) and Melanie Howard is the new bassist. Wadley co-worte ‘Jump In, The Water’s Fine,’ and her guitar twins with Gedge’s beautifully. But we get more than just towering guitars, some fuzzy bass, a few phrenetic moments, but all of this clothes what is actually a gentle, beautiful song. Gedge is in fine form here on vocals.
The b-side is ‘Panama,’ which starts off with clapping hands before the bass and drums kick in like it’s the Pixies in 1988. But then come the guitars and Gedge’s voice. ‘Panama’ is a palindrome, something Gedge loves: ‘A man, a plan, a canal.’ He also says it’s based on one of his favourite images, taken by Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders of the Earth. It also incorporates the take off of Apollo 8 in 1968. Musically, this is classic Wedding Present, chugging bass and rhythm guitars with Gedge singing about love, in this case, he’s pledging ‘his full heart to’ her, and declaring ‘love is the greatest thing we do.’
The Wedding Present have never disappointed, as far as I’m concerned. They have been a remarkably consistent production since the getgo. This new single continues that legacy.