One day, many, many moons ago a wise man discovered the meaning of life: things come in threes. He called this theory 'The Rule of Three' (catchy, I know). I like to think he was thinking of visual albums when he dreamt this up, but he was more than likely talking about some sort of literary technique, or something equally thrilling.
This year has seen the rise of the multimedia music experience™. Back in April we had Beyoncé strutting her stuff with the quite brilliant Lemonade music video album thingy. Then, earlier this month, everyone's favourite neo-soul tease Frank Ocean dropped Endless, a rather bizarre visual album to get everyone all excited for his second album proper, Blonde.
Not ones to miss out, The Wedding Present have only gone out and made their own visual album and, whisper it, the year's third visual album may be the best of the bunch. Going, Going..., the group's ninth record, is full of bizarre twists and turns that make it unlike any album they have released to date.
With videos accompanying each track, the first quarter plays out like some kind of post-apocalyptic opera. The kind of thing Mogwai might thrash out after listening to too much These New Puritans. Opener 'Kittery' Is all about the drums. In fact all four instrumental songs at the start of the record would be nothing without the apocalyptic, conveyer belt tub thumping keeping everything churning along at what can only be described as a frighteningly epic pace.
For a band who proudly claim that 'every song sounds the same', this is somewhat of a departure. We don't hear any hints of The Wedding Present of old until about 20 minutes into the record with 'Little Silver'. From here on in the record acts and sounds like you'd expect a Wedding Present album to in 2016. Songs about love, loss and weariness have been coming out of David Gedge's pie-hole for a good 30 years now and if anything, his song writing is maturing with age.
The pace continues to quicken with 'Secretary' and 'Broken Bow'. Both tracks have an aggressive edge that we haven't seen from The Wedding Present in decades. There's a hint of vitriol in David Gedge's guitar tones on the former, while the latter burns away slowly, tempting us in with slow, almost sensual rhythms that could have come straight from a Nick Cave b-side.
In fact, the only thing stopping this record being the band's best of all time is its length. At 20 songs long there are one or two moments that feel like filler, and this is a shame. If these were cut out we could be looking at something truly special here. Instead, what we have is the group's best since their sublime Seamonsters. Which, to be honest, is still quite impressive.
Maybe this whole visual album malarkey is more than just a fad. We might have to reconsider the whole rule of threes thing.
8Jack Doherty's Score