Album Info

May 20, 2008
Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock

Album Review

The pairing of the Wedding Present and engineer Steve Albini on 1991's Seamonsters was an inspired move on the group's part. His ultra-loud and thudding sound was a perfect match for a batch of David Gedge's most soul crushing songs in a career full of them. Revisiting Albini's studio proves to be a similarly wise move in 2008 for the band's seventh album, El Rey. Any traces of Gedge's previous band, Cinerama, have been wiped away, and who better than Albini to cleanly and loudly record another batch of intense and heart-rending songs? The guitar sounds the band employ are not as extreme as those on Seamonsters: the drums aren't as brutal and the overall feel is more subdued and mature (it is 17 long years later, after all), but the end result is still one of the Wedding Present's strongest, most emotionally powerful albums to date. The band is tight and dynamic, playing with delicate restraint at times and building huge slabs of noise at others. Gedge and new guitarist Chris McConville sound possessed by real fury, ripping off nasty solos and thundering chords that give the already dramatic songs a real punch. Gedge's insight into the affairs of the broken-hearted has only grown sharper with age, and his studies in frustration and confusion unspool like a short story collection. Unlike on Seamonsters, there is a thread of wistful humor running through this album, especially on the story-song "Don't Take Me Home Until I'm Drunk," and the snappy, should-be hit single "The Thing I Like Most About Him Is His Girlfriend." He may put off some listeners by how intensely personal he can be, but by now you are either along for the ride, or you never will be. And if you've been sticking by the group for long, you'll be rewarded by El Rey's brutal honesty, hard-won wisdom, and first-rate songcraft, and you'll relish the sound of a band trying to recapture a brilliant sound from their past and succeeding completely.
Tim Sendra, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Santa Ana Winds
  2. Spider-Man on Hollywood
  3. I Lost the Monkey
  4. Soup
  5. Palisades
  6. The Trouble with Men
  7. Model, Acress, Whatever...
  8. Don't Take Me Home Until I'm Drunk
  9. The Thing I Like Best About Him Is His Girlfriend [Santa Monica and La Brea
  10. Boo Boo
  11. Swingers