They may have split up, reformed and had more line-up changes than the Man United back four, but The Wedding Present are now on their third album since Singer David Gedge reformed the band in 2005 and eighth album in total. Valentina continues the sound that The Wedding Present fans expect and love as every album passes since their debut in 1985. It will be always be difficult for a band to match their best created earlier in the career, and Valentina is no exception. Although not much will better 'Seamonsters' there are definitely some moments on the new album to make it worth listening to.
Valentina has seen two members replaced since the last album and Graeme Ramsay has become more involved writing a large chunk of the material on Valentina. The album opens to the sound of thundering drum rolls on 'You're dead.' The buzz saw guitar sounds at the beginning of the song give way to more jangly parts as it draws to an end.
Arguably the best song on Valentina is 'Girl from the DDR'. The frantic guitar strumming, along with Pepe Le Moko's bass lines, keep the song ticking along.Le Moko also provides backing vocals in German to Gedge's main vocal.
Despite Gedge being the only original member of the band, the other members of this current line up add a lot with their own talents. Graeme Ramsay's guitar adds some bite to the songs complimenting Gedge's tales of spurned love while Pepe Le Moko's bassline's and backing vocals also bring a bit of flair to the songs.Charlie Layton's drumming also brings waves off noise and rhythm to drive the songs along.
As was referred to earlier, fans know what to expect when The Wedding Present come to release an album these days. The lyrical themes are often similar to what has gone before. And because of that you can't help but be feel that Gedge and the rest of the band are on autopilot. The problem with Valentina is that it is sometimes enjoyable, often unremarkable. It's a bit like a real life average wedding present. You're grateful and appreciate it, but you won't be using it every day.
Although the one constant that has been on every Wedding Present album is Gedge's lyrics and his style is as noticeable as ever. This is one ingredient that should allow the band to continue producing meaningful offerings to their fans.