Tuesday, 26 February 2008

THE WEDDING PRESENT: Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)

It took David Gedge and the boys to find a real emotional context for the venerable Steve Harley oldies radio rep reliable, as well as to point out what a skilfully constructed song "Make Me Smile." Freed of Harley's personal agenda/vendetta and a vocal delivery entailing the wrong definition of self-assurance (which went on to influence not so much Devoto but more transient and insufferable novelties like Yellow Dog's "Just One More Night"), Gedge's rage burns with the righteous ire of someone who has just had a hand stretched down into his stomach to retain, regurgitate and re-drink every milkshake he has ever consumed in his life. Musically thrashes thrust like lightning - this particular Steve (Albini) proving a far more cognisant architect - and Gedge has no difficulty fitting the song and its sentiments into his known specialty of betrayed love and baffled hurt. It thunders past with such ramshackle acuity that his mind can barely keep up with his racing pulse.

Thre are two major musical moments of punctum; the first arrives after a near-perfect replica of the original's guitar solo when there is an extended feedback-laden pause, held for sufficient seconds for the listener reasonably to expect a "You Made Me Realise" blast off, but just as the mirror looks set to crack, Gedge returns with his parched "There ain't no more!" while making sure there's plenty more to say. The second materialises with the extended ending - Status Quo on SST at 78 rpm - when guitars switch into Dinosaur Jr wah wah worship before shutting the lid of Leeds dolefulness on the song. Gedge is truly betrayed, cannot even begin to comprehend the reasons, sings ruefully at his routers rather than cackle at them; and the feeling of the song therefore becomes palpable to a degree which Harley would perhaps never allow.