Cinerama – Valentina

Posted by vibrations on 08-09-15

Wow, this David Gedge fella really knows how to mix things up with music formats!  His main band, ‘The Wedding Present’, were notable for coming up with the novel idea of releasing a single a month for 12 consecutive months, breaking the record for the most number of top 30 a single calendar year in the process.

This time Gedge has come up with another innovative wheeze, opting to record and release a Cinerama version of the Wedding Present album ‘Valentina’, not surprisingly via the Scopitones label, and fulfilling one of his long held career ambitions. Originally planning to put out both albums simultaneously, Gedge soon realised that in order to achieve that sort of feat, one would have had to go head hunting for project managers at NASA, so instead we get the more sonically challenging Cinerama version 3 short years after its predecessor.

Naturally, every one of the repurposed songs have been given the full Cinerama treatment, lush strings and sharp brass wrapped around a chilled out groove, the overall result a distinctly 1960s big band feel, one part Bond theme, one part Spaghetti Western, certainly a stark contrast to the austere guitar bass drums found in the Wedding Present releases. The languid Bossa-Nova shuffle of ‘You’re Dead’ contains no morbidity whatsoever, a world away from the urgent percussion driven TWP version. ‘You Jane’ swaps the driving guitar riff as Gedge seeks to become Tarzan the lounge lizard, reinforcing the tone set in the opener for the remaining numbers, each seeming to take the sunshine factor up another notch. ‘Back a Bit….Stop!’ reminds the listener of ‘It’s Not Unusual’ as we’re transported to a promenade on the French Riviera sat in a convertible car. The bit on the side lament ‘Girl from the DDR’ is so upbeat in tone, you can see the girl in question beating a dignified retreat as soon as she gets the message, the listener a world away from the dystopian concrete imagery synonymous with Berlin Wall-era East Germany. Terry de Castro takes over vocal duties on the splendidly Hannonesque ‘End Credits’ before ‘Mystery Date’ brings us the album’s only downbeat moment, albeit awash with comforting piano. Finally the album’s cocktail bar instrumental denouement Cita A Ciegues rounds things off nicely.               

Gedge and his cohorts even played a one-off show at Islington’s Academy recently, backed by a 12-piece orchestra. Wish I’d been there.

Mike Price

On the Vibrations stereo...