Personnel: David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Christopher McConville (guitar); Graeme Ramsay (drums); Terry de Castro (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Andrew Scheps.
Liner Note Author: Terry de Castro.
Recording information: Electrical Audio, Chicago, IL (2008); The Laundry Room Studios, Los Angeles, CA (2008).
Photographer: Cary Creed.
In 2007, the Wedding Present celebrated the 20th anniversary of their debut album, George Best, with a series of shows where the band played the album in its entirety. Revisiting its songs and energy gave the band a boost that carried over to the recording sessions for their 2008 album, El Rey. Working with Steve Albini, the engineer on the band's landmark LP Seamonsters, was also inspirational. While in the studio, the band's leader, David Gedge, had what he considered a genius idea. Why not re-record George Best with Albini at the controls? Adding some extra crunch and thud to the album, capturing the new band retracing the old band's step in a new fashion; these were ideas that appealed to Gedge. Albini, not so much. He was convinced otherwise, however, and the bandmembers went back to put their own spin on the past. With guitarist Christopher McConville, drummer Graeme Ramsay, and bassist Terry de Castro joining Gedge, they run through the album with no frills added, playing it straight and true. The guitars do strike a balance between the frantic jangle of Best and the feedbacky wail of Seamonsters, the rhythm section proves up to the task of pushing the songs along mightily while staying firmly lashed to the deck, and de Castro takes on the task of replacing Amelia Fletcher's innocent backing vocals and comes through with style. Gedge doesn't let his side down either, with every year of experience gained in the wake of the years since Best coming through in his vocal delivery. It's a kick to hear the songs updated with an extra layer of punch and power added, and Gedge should be commended for digging the tapes out of cold storage and getting them mastered properly. This version of the album will never take the place of the original, but it is a nice way to mark the 30th anniversary of its release. ~ Tim Sendra
Melody Maker (10/25/97, p.54) - "...the sound of a young band struggling to find their feet, to find the right words, to get the noise right. Maybe that's why it sounded so fresh, so bullshit free and life-affirming in 1987 and...sounds so poignant and startlingly innocent now."
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