| THE WEDDING PRESENT
George Best (Reception)
FONDUE SETS... his 'n' hers pillow cases... reproduction cake-stands... stereophonic pressure cookers... slug-ugly silver-plated cutlery... to the infallible rule that all Wedding Presents are both pitiably predictable and totally useless, our quartet of home-spun heroes are the only known exception. 'George Best' triumphantly confirms that unique standing, being both a surprise and a thing of beauty...
| And 'real' does not translate into 'ordinary' because Gedge (like Costello, Morrissey, Bragg and Ray Davies, at their respective best) uses language-in his case, conversational and undecorated-to transform the personal and the mundane into the universal and the deeply affecting. Take, for example, the shrugging, spiteful resignation of 'Don't give me that/'cos you were seen/everyone thinks he looks daft/but you can have your dream' ('Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft'); or the sickening sadness of 'slowly your beauty is eaten away/by the scent of someone else in the blankets where we lay' ('All This And More'); or the desperate chirpiness of 'Don't Be So Hard' where the endlessly repeated line 'you're not like anyone I've ever met' is eventually poisoned by the whispered outro of 'at least not yet...'. It's as simple as this; for every face of the hoary old love thang, David Gedge has a new, and revealing, coat of paint.
In the present pop climate, The Wedding Present have been almost insanely brave. By refusing to make their music any more listener-friendly, or their lyrics any more sugary sweet, they hurl themselves wilfully into the face of accepted pop wisdom and maybe sacrifice the chance of Thursday nights out with Mel, Kim, Pepsi, Shirley and all the rest. But, that fleshly prospect notwithstanding, I reckon their courage has been utterly vindicated; David Gedge stands exposed as a prototype genius-next-door, while 'George Best' is an unmitigated delight, the best British debut of the year, and the most remarkable contribution to humanity ever achieved by supporters of Leeds United!
BAND OF GOLD
New Musical Express 10 October 1987
Wedding Present: just what we always wanted