Clash (magazine) - "The most triumphant moments here are when David Gedge's influences are at play. The seething, rushed chaos of `Secretary', for example, sounds like an early incarnation of The Fall..."
Personnel: Samuel Beer-Pearce (vocals, guitar, piano, organ); David Gedge (vocals, guitar, Mellotron, waterphone); Paul Hiraga, Melanie Howard, Katharine Wallinger, Terry de Castro (vocals); Teo Benson, Jae-In Shin (violin); Annie Ford (viola); Barb Hunter (cello); Charles Layton (glockenspiel, drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Andrew Scheps.
Recording information: Allan's Cove Studios, Brighton, England (2014); Crackle and Pop Studios, Seattle, Washington (2014); Parr Street Studios, Liverpool, England (2014); Studios La Fabrique, Saint-Remy-De-Provence, France (2014); Allan's Cove Studios, Brighton, England (2016); Crackle and Pop Studios, Seattle, Washington (2016); Parr Street Studios, Liverpool, England (2016); Studios La Fabrique, Saint-Remy-De-Provence, France (2016).
Photographer: Jessica McMillan.
Arrangers: Charles Layton; David Gedge; Samuel Beer-Pearce; Katharine Wallinger.
With a career as long and as consistent as the Wedding Present's has been, the occasion of their ninth album would hardly seem like the place where they would start defying expectations. That being said, 2016's Going, Going... is something of a departure for David Gedge's long-running group at first. Featuring new guitarist Samuel Beer-Pearce and new bassist Katharine Wallinger, the record is 20 songs linked together by a series of films, one for each track. It kicks off with a shock right away as the first four songs are instrumental soundscapes and lyricless tunes that range from quiet strings to rampaging guitars -- basically like nothing the band has done before and an odd choice to kick off the album, because the expanded instrumentation and shifting moods vanish with the opening distorted strums of the fifth track, "Two Bridges." From then on, with only one or two exceptions when the strings creep back in or on "Wales," another instrumental near the close of the album, the rest is Weddoes 101, with all the strangled passion, furious strumming, and thudding drums that implies. They hit all the basics both lyrically and musically over the course of the album, with tracks that call to mind the thundering heartbreak of Seamonsters, the chiming vigor of Bizarro, the aching subtlety found on more recent albums, and the powerful emotional thrust of every song they've ever committed to tape. That's the key word: commitment. Gedge has never sounded anything less that 100 percent and that's definitely the case on Going, Going.... His vocals, be they the weathered croon of "Little Silver" or the desperate howl of "Emporia," sound as ever like they were wrenched from deep within and served up still beating. No doubt inspired by the fresh additions to the lineup and spurred on by Gedge's indefatigable determination, the Weddoes also play with the burning fire and skill that they always have, maybe even with a little more gusto than usual lately on the more intense songs (like "Broken Bow") or the near-punk romps ("Secretary" and "Ten Sleep") that sound like the work of bandmembers half their age. The album might not stand with their all-time best work, like Seamonsters or Watusi, but it's hard to deny the brilliance of a band that, so late in its career, can crank out an album as passionate, hook-filled, and flat-out fiery as this. That's the true surprise of Going, Going.... ~ Tim Sendra