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Seamonsters

KRAKEN'S WAKE

New Musical Express 25 May 1991


THE WEDDING PRESENT
Seamonsters (RCA/All formats)

FOR ANYONE left wondering whether David Gedge has finally come to terms with the table tennis game of romance and, in short, Got A Life, here's your answer...No! 'Seamonsters' is another big, rejected bastard of an album which takes the band one step further toward bachelorhood.

 

Gedge sounds like he's had an appalling winter watching Gone With The Wind, while the music has cut away from the pop thrusts of 'Bizarro' (still underrated) and ended up sounding sparse, shadowy and in certain cases, on the shelf.
Don't , for starters, expect the driving guitar catchiness of old tracks like 'Kennedy' and 'Take Me'. 'Seamonsters', picking up from the progression of the supporting tracks on last year's 'Come Up And See Me Make Me Smile' EP is the most bleak piece of Weddoes blood-letting to date. Slowed down, thinned out, recorded in the middle of Canada and seemingly at the mercy of Steve Albini's engineering job, it's the Love/Hate album.You suspect people will either begin quivering at its brutal outpourings, or they'll give up on Gedge completely as an old duffer who never grew out of wearing short trousers. Either way, this is the obstreperous, left-field record that the band have been signaling for the past 18 months.
Trouble is, ultimately it isn't that good. Agreed, you could say it's a brave record (a testing album even) but, in spite of the cutting undercurrent, the dark, touching moments that lurk in its monstrous depths, 'Seamonsters' feels more like More Of The Same without the panache.
A revamped 'Corduroy' is great, 'Suck' is nicely dramatic with shards of Albini-style guitar dropping in and out, and 'Carolyn' has a sweeping, electric build-up. But Gedge, shedding several layers of skin in the process (getting it all off his chest?), seems to be backing himself into a repetitively thematic corner while the band mope out.
On the fifth listen the admirable thing about 'Seamonsters' is that it suggests the Weddoes still want to do something more than angst-pop. Unfortunately this, at times, sounds like having sandpaper rubbed over your ears. (5)
Steve Lamacq
©2005 Chester Severien (Chester@Severien.nl)