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The Wedding Present, Valentina (Scopitones) ***
The Wedding Present’s eighth studio album – and first since 2008’s El Rey – was recorded in France, California and Brighton, but it is still the sound of Leeds. David Gedge may move around, his indie-rock musicians may change, his hair stays impossibly jet black, yet his musical roots will always show through.
The desire for beauty and beautiful relationships comes up against the ugly reality of Leeds, just as it always has over more than 30 years now. The kitchen-sink drama candid vocals are thrust up front as ever, the guitars are as angry as a Haworth skyline, and still Gedge exercises his romantic frustration, failures and forlorn hopes as if the next time, the next song, the next album, history might not repeat itself at last.
The miracle is that he still has something new to say about love and bleeding hearts, but there are plenty of us who have aged with him over the horizon of 50 that nod knowingly at his fresh insights.