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Vinyl re-issue of The Wedding Present’s iconic third studio album, Seamonsters.
Seamonsters was originally released by RCA Records on 28 May 1991 [exactly thirty years to the day before this 2021 re-release] but has been unavailable on vinyl for some years.
This new double LP version features the original album, plus tracks from the ‘3 Songs’, ‘Dalliance’, and ‘Lovenest’ EPs. It also includes the band’s October 1990 BBC Radio 1 session for John Peel. This is the first time that the Peel Session tracks have been available on vinyl. The package also includes a compact disc featuring the original album and the tracks from the EPs.
Following the release of Seamonsters – which was recorded in the USA by Steve Albini in twelve days during 1991 – the Guardian newspaper noted that: “Albini has given The Wedding Present considerable weight, with Gedge’s voice trickling between banks of scowling guitars” and went on to feature it in its list of ‘1,000 albums to hear before you die’. Despite its uncompromising sound the album reached No. 13 in the British album charts and has been hailed as a classic.
Track-listing: Dalliance / Dare / Suck / Blonde / Rotterdam / Lovenest / Corduroy / Carolyn / Heather / Octopussy / Make Me Smile [Come Up And See Me] / Crawl / Corduroy [Single Version] / She’s My Best Friend / Niagara / Mothers / Dan Dare / Fleshworld / Dalliance* / Heather* / Blonde* / Niagara*
[*Peel Session Version]
Seamonsters reviewed by AllMusic :
After recording with Steve Albini on their remake of 1990’s ‘Brassneck’ single, The Wedding Present decamped to Minnesota to record a full album with the notoriously abrasive producer. It proved to be a perfect match of band and engineer, and Seamonsters turned out to be the most emotionally powerful album the band could have hoped to make. Albini’s dramatically stripped-down sound and David Gedge’s utterly wrecked lyrics work to wring every last drop of desolate anger and angst from the songs. Simon Smith sounds like he’s battering his drums with concrete blocks instead of sticks, Keith Gregory’s wire-taut bass sounds like it’s stalking the guitars, and Gedge and Peter Solowka’s guitars explode into flaming balls of noise and sound when they aren’t lurking in the mix like barely restrained demons. The simplicity of the recording, the intense range of dynamics in each song, and the almost painful amount of passion the band injects into every note is breath-taking. Add in Gedge’s ripped-from-his-heart vocals and his intensely felt, quite bleak, lyrics and it gets close to emotional overload territory. The Wedding Present had always had a reputation for being dour and straitlaced, but there was usually still some humour in Gedge’s turns of phrase, a jaunty feel to their high-speed guitar strumathons, and an almost fun energy in their poppiest songs. There’s absolutely nothing about Seamonsters that isn’t the darkest, unhappiest thing one could imagine. Luckily, the gloom is tempered by how catchy the songs are – hooky tracks like ‘Dare’ and ‘Dalliance’ are hard to shake. It’s also made easier to swallow by the quieter songs like ‘Carolyn’ and the overall dynamic approach, which allow Gedge some space to croon. Indeed, this is the album where Gedge moves beyond being a solid vocalist to being a great one. Seamonsters is The Wedding Present’s masterpiece, a long look into the abyss that feels like a knife twisting deep into the heart, and sounds like a glimpse into the bare souls of the band. It’s not easy listening, but it is essential. [Tim Sendra]