Album Review – Cinerama


Cinerama -‘Valentina.’ (Scopitones)

‘David Gedge’s other band!’ trumpets the sticker on this album. That’s ‘other’ in the sense that since 1985, David Gedge has been the frontman of The Wedding Present. The Wedding Present are the band who, amongst other things made history by scoring 12 Top 30 hits (one a month) with a single back in 1992. David Gedge is the man of whom the late, lamented John Peel once said ‘he’s written some of the best love songs of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Era. You may dispute this, but I’m right and you’re wrong!”

Cinerama came into being in 1997 when the Weddoes went on hiatus, and Gedge collaborated with his then girlfriend Sally Murrell on a different sort of sound. Whilst the heartfelt love-songs continued, they owed far more to 1960s orchestral pop with flavours of soundtracks. By 2004, while Gedge was working on what became Take Fountain, he decided that the album sounded more like a Wedding Present album, the album was issued under that name. It has long been a stated ambition of Gedge’s to record and release a Wedding Present album in the style of Cinerama. So the album he has done it with is the 2012 album Valentina.

Still with me? Good. Because while this project has obviously taken a while to come to fruition, it demonstrates that David Gedge doesn’t always need a wall of raging guitars to show off his songwriting skills. Whilst the Cinerama version follows the same tracklisting and order of the original Wedding Present one, we now have a vastly different take on the songs, demonstrating sympathetic arrangements and an intelligence necessary to carry the project through (which is lesser hands than David Gedge might well have fallen flat on its face).

It might be questioned whether it’s necessary to be familiar with the original version of the album in order to enjoy it. On it’s own, it stands up fairly well, but it gives more sense to the concept behind the project if you’re aware of both albums. Valentina had never been one of my favourite Weddoes albums but I found that going back and listening to both versions side by side gave more of an insight into what had been done.

Some tracks, such as ‘You Jane’, definitely are as good as the Wedding Present version, and I think ‘Mystery Date’ in this version is even more heartfelt and moving. What does perhaps hold the album back a bit is that it can be a bit much to take in one listening; having listened to the entire album several times finding that I needed to break it up a bit.

On balance, though, it’s good to see that David Gedge has revisited his back catalogue in a different way, rather than simply recording an acoustic version or commissioning dance remixes, as might have been done by other (lesser!) acts in times gone by. It’s perhaps not the most obvious place to start for a newcomer to the work of David Gedge, but for those who are fans or want to investigate further, it’s an worthwhile addition to the catalogue.


Valentinais out now on Scopitones.

More Peel, anyone?


Ok, just as it says on the tin.These are tracks that made John Peel’s Festive Fifty, which have proved difficult to get hold of!

Thanks to everyone who has helped! I’m very grateful to all of you.

Melys -‘Eyeliner.’ mp3 (2004 Festive Fifty, no.38)

Cinerama -‘Don’t Touch That Dial.’ mp3 (2003 Festive Fifty, no.1)

Cinerama -‘It’s Not you, It’s me.’ mp3 (2004 Festive Fifty no.14)

Aphrodisiacs -‘If U Want me.’ mp3 (2004 Festive Fifty no.45)

Ballboy -‘I Lost You But I Found Country Music (featuring Laura Cantrell).’ mp3 (2004 Festive Fifty no.17)

Jah Woosh -‘Freedom.’ mp3 (1977 Festive Fifty no. 24)

Motors -‘Bring In the Morning Light.’ mp3 (1977 Festive Fifty no.56)

Oldham Tinkers -‘John Willie’s Ferret.’ mp3 (1977 Festive Fifty no.52)

Dr. Feelgood -‘Paradise.’ mp3 (1977 Festive Fifty no.33)

Age Of Chance -‘Bible Of The Beats.’ mp3 (1986 Festive Fifty no.27)

A sort of afterthought…

Due to the comments in the last post below, I thought I would investigate the David Gedge and Emma Pollock(above) collaboration and Propaganda and Josef K.

As it turns out, ‘Ears’ by Mr. Gedge and Ms. Pollock appeared on the first Cinerama album Va Va Voom in 1998, while Propaganda’s cover of ‘Sorry For Laughing’ appeared on their album A Secret Wish in 1985.

Both these tracks can be found at eMusic which is well worth a subscription to.

Just a brief post tonight, far too much stuff to do, as ever… : ))

Cinerama with Emma Pollock -‘Ears.’ mp3

Propaganda -‘Sorry For Laughing.’ mp3

Peel Slowly and see

Ah the legendary Mr. Peel. Famous quotes (many more of which can be found here
Peel’s compering debut on TOTP: “In case you’re wondering who this funny old bloke is, I’m the one who comes on Radio 1 late at night and plays records made by sulky Belgian art students in basements dying of TB.”

And of course, his comment about Aretha Franklin’s duet with George Michael ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’:”You know, Aretha Franklin can make any old rubbish sound good, and I think she just has.”

First up, from one of the greatest travelling albums of all time, Big Science, Laurie Anderson’s deeply spooky ‘O superman’
Laurie Anderson -‘O Superman.’ mp3 (1981 Festive Fifty no.34)

The Wedding Present had 47 entries in the various Festive Fifties between 1986 and 2004, including two entries in the millennium Festive Fifty as well as doing nine sessions. David Gedge’s other band, Cinerama had 13 entries in the Festive Fifty, and did ten Peel sessions. (When I have more time on my hands I will work out who did best out of David Gedge, Morrissey and Mark E. Smith)

Cinerama -‘King’s Cross.’ mp3 (1999 Festive Fifty no.18)

Throughout 2004, it was clear that Bloc Party were very definitely gathering pace, and they had three entries in the final ever Festive Fifty, including this:

Bloc Party -‘Little Thoughts.’ mp3 (2004 Festive Fifty no.44)

The stranglers were accused of being bandwagon jumpers during punk, Johnny Rotten labelling them short-haired hippies, but they did have some fantastic songs. Best of all was this:
The Stranglers -No More Heroes (1978 Festive Fifty no.33, 1979 Festive Fifty no.45, 1980 Festive Fifty no.58)

My all-time favourite single by The Jam:

The Jam-‘Strange Town.’ mp3 (1979 Festive Fifty no.27)

And a handful you might be a little surprised to see made the Festive Fifty. After all, weren’t they a little, y’know, poppy? What the hell, I think they’re great tracks and so did many of his listeners, evidently:

It’s easy to heap scorn on Gary Numan/Tubeway army, due to his sheer …what?, but he is slowly becoming critically rehabilitated over the advancing years, and this is a stellar track.

Tubeway Army – ‘Are Friends Electric?’ mp3 (1979 Festive Fifty no.39)

According to the website, Depeche Mode never did any sessions for Peel, nor had any entries in the Festive Fifty (nor did Erasure,, for that matter), but Vince Clark did score with two of his other, less-long lasting projects. The first ended up being a one-off, featuring none other than Fergal Sharkey on vocals (the Undertones had split up a few months previously)

Assembly -‘Never Never.’ mp3 (1983 Festive Fifty no.23)

…then the two albums only project that was Vince and none other than Alison Moyet.

Yazoo -‘Don’t Go.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty no.60)

Is this a guilty pleasure? Oh, whatever. I’m not the only one.

Blancmange -‘Living On The Ceiling.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty no.34)

This was the only entry Tears For Fears had, in those hallowed days of ‘new pop.’ It is a fantastic tune, and seems to have actually dated quite well, IMHO.

Tears For Fears -‘Mad World.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty no.5)

This is my 35th post this month, or something BTW. Hope you are enjoying them. Please leave feedback, I don’t bite!