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The Wedding Present 

Take Fountain (Manifesto)

Just in time for the '90s revival, Wedding Present frontman David Gedge has decided to revisit his alternative-rock salad days by ditching his recent project, Cinerama, and returning to the outfit where he first made his name. Why he's chosen to do so remains a mystery: the Wedding Present's first LP in eight years sounds more like Cinerama -- a melding of Britpop with a '60s-movie soundtrack -- than the heady guitar rush and cloudy-day melodies that once defined the band.

Gedge has long since loosened his constricted croon, either due to a less affected mood or simply the fact that he's getting older. Ironically, his voice is less melodramatic when the music becomes more so. Take Fountain displays plenty of this kind of maturity, both good (melodically complex, bittersweet lyrics) and bad (distended songs, too much studio wankery). But perfect moments, like the swelling waltz of "Don't Touch That Dial" and the head-bobbing "Always the Quiet One," prove that Gedge is a master of the kind of clever pop that still doesn't have a chance on the charts here -- '90s revival or not.

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