The Wedding Present – Take Fountain
In his incarnation with Cinerama, David Gedge learnt a few things. He learnt to avoid returning to the darker edges and rumbling bursts of rhythmic intensity that were found in the Wedding Present's earlier albums, and he learnt to have a bit of fun and how to make a record sound shiny. This didn't stop Cinerama sounding like the Wedding Present towards the end of their existence, however. Indeed, the sudden reversion back to his principle base of recognition for Take Fountain implies that Cinerama were sounding too much like the Weddoes to still be called Cinerama.
It is obvious by the second track (the primordial sonic mish-mash of the first track could come from almost anywhere) that Gedge's song-writing has returned to its initial monosyllabic, embryonic phase, not seen since the dirt-scape of Seamonsters. Interstate 5 is a glorious and punishing disco-based hark back to Wedding Present yore, revelling in its own intensity until the final section, which is where it begins to get interesting. The pace slackens and we are left dangling in some sort of Spaghetti Western soundscape, augmented by a mariachi trumpet and jazzy vibraphone. Surely this is what Cinerama were all about? The creation, augmentation and extension of vaguely cinematic themes? It isn't until the next track that things become clear again, as we have definitely gone back to the Cinerama mould in Always the Quiet One (originally a Peel session track recorded by Cinerama in the very late stages). True, it's edgier than most of the Cinerama back-catalogue, but its melodic sensibilities and dourly romantic lyrics cement it firmly in the pantheon of yesteryear.
The album continues in this vein until we get to track 6, when the mood is distinctly lighter. We could be in 1992 listening to an entry in the Hit Parade. The other side to the Wedding Present rears its head in the remainder of the album (aside from the sickly poignant, typical- sexual-frustration-fuelled track 9), with the romance dying and the music becoming ever-less shiny. The intensity returns in track 8, leaving the listener to assume that Gedge really doesn't need to be as mopey as he's often accused of being. He's out of context with himself through no real fault of his own.
The other main difference here is the sheerness of the romantic destruction in the lyrics. Presumably centred on Gedge's break-up with Cinerama's Sally Murrell, Take Fountain showcases on numerous occasions how far Gedge has come. Where the early Wedding Present would have mumbled, rumbled and rambled like a moody teenager, today's version sits don and talks about it like a reasoned, coffee-drinking individual. 'I know we had some memorable days, but just not very many!' says Gedge at one point. It's a wonderful thing that he has come so far. And as the final string-led swells of track 11 die away, we realise that we've heard something beautiful that, like the whole of Take Fountain, doesn't need to be bracketed into either corner.
And just for the record, it ends on a Cinerama moment.