In 1992, The Wedding Present achieved a feat that anyone could dine out on—they found themselves in a league with the one and only Elvis Presley. That year, they had 12 tracks charting, one in each month, tying with ‘The King’ for the most top 40 hits in a single year. Not bad for a band who termed themselves a cottage-industry outfit. And they never lost that sense of DIY innovation.
Last November we caught up with them as they geared up to revisit that landmark achievement 30 years on with their latest project. 24 Songs has progressively launched a 7” double-sided single for fans every month throughout 2022. Their work has been cut out, but David Gedge and co have crafted their way into a purple patch with the output so far.
As Gedge stated previously: “When we did this last time, with the Hit Parade in 1992, we wrote and recorded the songs as we went along, and I enjoyed the way the series evolved. So that’s what we’re doing again. The idea of having all 24 written and recorded in advance seems a bit too… calculating… to me.”
Those fears that being calculated might’ve dampened the freshness might never have come to the fore, but you can’t argue with the soaring results of the singles so far which have brought about a cut-grass greenery to the familiar swirling tones of the group. Their latest live video for the brooding new single ‘Once Bitten’ is testimony to that.
Speaking about the track, Gedge told us: “One of the tasks encountered, when you put together a series of 7” singles, is that you need to decide which song goes on which side of the record. Seemingly, The Wedding Present are notoriously bad at doing this having, apparently, consigned some ‘classic-in-the-eyes-of-fans’ recordings to be being B-sides of singles, rather than putting them on albums. [‘Crawl’, anybody?]”
Continuing: “However, I would argue that the reason for this is that we, kind of, ‘don’t do B-sides’. If a track has reached the level of quality where we’ve decided that it’s good enough to release, we’re happy for it to go on any side of a single or anywhere on an album. It’s just a matter of placement.”
This bold art above all approach is indicative of the band themselves and the quality they possess. How many other acts would sign up for a task like this one? Not that I think ‘task’ is the right word really, it’s more of an art exhibition in itself, waxing and waning with the whims of the creators.
As Gedge continues: “For the 24 Songs 7”s, we’ve purposely tried not to denote which song is the A-side and which isn’t… but, obviously, one track, unfortunately, has to have a ‘B’ inscribed in the run-out groove by the pressing plant. Our June single is a case in point.
Concluding: “I’d be happy with either ‘Once Bitten’ with its darker feel and monstrous drums and guitar riffs or ‘Kerplunk!’ with its George Best-like jangle and John Barry style final chord taking the honour. Did we make the right choice, this time, I wonder?!”
Well, you can judge for yourself with the exclusively launched video below.