The Wedding Present released a new 7” single every month throughout 2022.
This fascinating project – which went under the name of '24 Songs' – came exactly thirty years after the band’s similar 'Hit Parade' series of 7”s in 1992.
Each of the records came in a beautifully-designed sleeve featuring brutalist photography by Jessica McMillan and there was also a hand-numbered collector’s box to put them all in. Each single was limited to just 2,400 copies.
You can buy the singles individually – or obtain the whole series – from this web site by clicking here.
Single 12 : The Loneliest Time Of Year [7” Version] c/w Memento Mori – released 16 December
David Gedge says: “Ah, the old ‘Christmas song’. To be honest, I’ve kind of been one of those ‘bah, humbug’ types ever since I realised that the only thing we’re really celebrating on 25 December is capitalism! “Thanks for the list of stuff you want me to buy for you, here’s a list of stuff I want you to buy for me.” There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but, for me, one of the most appealing things about the festive season is the way pop songs always seem more poignant when they’re also Christmas songs. It’s all about heightened expectation and disappointment, perhaps. I’ve had a go myself a couple of times over the years, of course, and it seemed fitting to have another crack at it for the grand finale of ‘24 Songs’. Hence, ‘The Loneliest Time Of Year’ has a huge, melancholy chorus, sleigh bells, and an appropriately surreal video. The other song on our final 7” of 2022, ‘Memento Mori’, is a perkier affair which was written while I gazed admiringly at the snow-topped Cascade Mountain Range in Washington State.”
Listen to ‘The Loneliest Time Of Year’ here.
Single 11 : ‘Science Fiction [7” Version]’ c/w ‘Plot Twist’ – released 18 November
David Gedge says: “During our ‘Hit Parade’ series in 1992, there were a couple of Science-Fiction-themed singles, namely ‘Flying Saucer’ [July] and The Queen Of Outer Space [November]. And, would you believe it, I’ve only gone and done it again, haven’t I? Thus, hot on the heels of last month’s ‘Astronomic’ comes the November single, erm... ‘Science Fiction’. It’s not about the whole genre as such; the title will make sense when you hear the song. Although it’s quite a sad lyric I, rather glamorously, wrote it whilst enjoying the amenities of a fancy hotel in Hollywood, so maybe the proximity of the film industry inspired me. Talking of inspirations, one band that has influenced The Wedding Present, off and on, over the years is The [mighty] Fall. And I don’t know if they even planned it but, on ‘Plot Twist’, Jon’s spiky guitar riff and Melanie’s crunchy bass line totally remind me of the classic Craig Scanlon / Steve Hanley combination that was memorably to be heard on sessions like the one recorded for John Peel in March 1983. Suitably inspired myself, when writing this lyric, I decided to also reference The Fall [for the second time in Wedding Present lyric history, the first being ‘Take Me!’ some thirty-three or so years ago].”
Listen to ‘Science Fiction [7” Version]’ here.
Single 10 : ‘Astronomic’ c/w ‘Whodunnit [7” Version]’ – released 21 October
David Gedge says: “With its 1950s theremin and science-fiction sound effects, ‘Astronomic’ sounds a bit like a cross between a psychedelic pop song and a television theme. It’s also The Wedding Present’s job to be educational as well as entertaining, of course, and who knew that ‘hyper-sonic speed’ is actually defined as one that exceeds five times the speed of sound? Certainly not me. But I know now! Oh, and wait until the very end of the track to hear another of those occasional Wedding Present references to Status Quo, too. Meanwhile, ‘Whodunnit’ [no question mark because it’s referring to the literary genre rather than asking a question] is a much more melancholy affair, which is what we’ve come to expect from songs which are primarily Melanie Howard co-creations. It might win the prize for the most powerful chorus of the series, though.”
Listen to ‘Astronomic’ here.
Single 9 : ‘We All Came From The Sea’ c/w ‘Summer’ – released 16 September
David Gedge says: “Every now and again, Wedding Present tracks come along which, I know for a fact, will divide our fans. It happened when we did the ‘Ukrainian John Peel Sessions’ and again when we released ‘Seamonsters’. And then there was our take on the ‘Theme From Shaft’, of course. It’s almost become a Wedding Present tradition to alienate a certain section of our followers from time to time! So, when Jon explained that, for ‘We All Came From The Sea’, he wanted to record a very repetitive track that was punky yet dancey, I knew that that time had come around again. However, I loved the idea and had no hesitation in channelling my inner Nile Rodgers to match his Banshees-like guitar playing. ‘Summer’ is kind of different, too. As the title suggests, it’s a sunny pop song... well, until my overdrive pedal goes on at the end, anyway. So… fingers crossed for an Indian summer, this September, then?”
Listen to ‘We All Came From The Sea’ here.
Single 8 : ‘Each Time You Open Your Eyes [7" Version]’ c/w ‘That Would Only Happen In A Movie’ – released 19 August
David Gedge says: “The songs we recorded for the August single in our series are almost what you might call old ones! A demo version of ‘Each Time You Open Your Eyes’ was first recorded in 2018, but it wasn’t until over three years later that we finally played it live. By then, we’d made it huge! We wanted to cover all parts of the audio spectrum, so Melanie tuned her bass from E all the way down to C to make Terry de Castro’s original bass line sound extra-bassy, and I used an octave pedal, on the recommendation of Jon, to add additional layers to my own part with both higher and lower versions. There’s also a note in the vocal part that I hold for sixteen seconds; it’s like everything had to bigger on this track! ‘That Would Only Happen In A Movie’ – which we first played on a live stream in March 2021 – sounds almost restrained, in comparison, with its acoustic guitar and virtually acapella middle eight. But then, sometimes, less is more! A semi-acoustic version of that song also appears on our ‘Locked Down And Stripped Back Volume Two’ album.”
Listen to ‘Each Time you Open Your Eyes [7" Version]’ here.
Single 7 : ‘We Interrupt Our Programme [7” Version]’ c/w ‘Telemark [7” Version]’ – released 15 July
David Gedge says: “Just how much can a guitar band cram onto a 7” single? Quite a lot, actually, if our July single is anything to go by. On these two tracks there are all manner of guitar layers, clean and over-driven, traditional tunings and custom tunings, bottlenecks and effects pedals. Add a couple of samples from a 1938 radio play and a friend from Norway and you have a ‘Telemark’ – with a starkness which hints at dramatic fjords in Autumn – and ‘We Interrupt Our Programme’ which almost skips towards mid-1970s glam rock in its sparkly platforms.”
Listen to ‘We Interrupt Our Programme [7" Version]’ here.
Single 6 : ‘Once Bitten’ c/w ‘Kerplunk!’ – released 17 June
David Gedge says: “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?] 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 go on any side of a single or anywhere on an album. It’s just a matter of placement. 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. 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?!”
Listen to ‘Once Bitten’ here.
Single 5 : ‘X Marks The Spot’ c/w ‘Strike!’ – released 20 May
David Gedge says: “One problem you encounter when you have a platinum-album-selling guitarist in your ensemble is that they occasionally need to go and play with their platinum-album-selling band. Fortunately, when Sleeper required that Jon Stewart temporarily return, recently, Sam Beer-Pearce [guitarist on our ‘Going, Going…’ LP] was happy to be re-enlisted and, during rehearsals, we wrote ‘X Marks The Spot’ with him. The verse has an odd chant-like structure which features, once again, evocative singing from Melanie Howard. Jon didn’t write the other side, either – the punky ‘Strike!’ was originally recorded by a previous incarnation of The Wedding Present on a BBC 6 Music session for Shaun Keaveny in August, 2019. In the ‘Before Times’, it was called ‘Don’t Ask Me’, though!”
Listen to ‘X Marks The Spot’ here.
Single 4 : ‘Monochrome [7” Version]’ c/w ‘You’re Just A Habit That I’m Trying To Break’ – released 15 April
David Gedge says: “‘Monochrome’ features something of a change in pace and mood compared to other tracks in the series. It started life as a beautiful little melody written by our bassist, Melanie Howard, and it inspired me to write a lyric about realising, a little too late, how important communication is. That theme is kind of continued on ‘You’re Just A Habit That I’m Trying To Break’ which was one of the first songs written after Jon Stewart joined The Wedding Present. We already released a recording of that song on our 'Locked Down And Stripped Back' album last year and although this new ‘full band’ version retains the acoustic guitar, it adds loud guitars, piano and a wah-wah pedal!”
Listen to ‘Monochrome [7" Version]’ here.
Single 3 : ‘Go Go Go’ c/w ‘La La La’ – released 18 March
David Gedge says: “Following in the slipstream of ‘We Should Be Together’, ‘Go Go Go’ is the second duet of the series. This one features our very own Melanie Howard. The lyric was inspired by ‘Wacky Races’. It’s a high-octane track and so writing about racing cars seemed to fit! I even tried, unsuccessfully, to shoehorn in references to Peter Perfect and Penelope Pitstop. I used to love that programme; as a kid I would make a note of the results every week and create a league table. ‘La La La’ was the first song that I co-wrote with Jon Stewart but it’s Melanie’s huge bass part that drives the song. It wouldn’t be out of place on a track by the mighty Fall, and it inspired me to go a bit Mark E Smith myself at the beginning of the final verse.”
Listen to ‘Go Go Go’ here.
Single 2 : ‘I Am Not Going To Fall In Love With You [7” Version]’ c/w ‘A Song From Under The Floorboards’ – released 18 February
David Gedge says: “As a song writer, you usually tend to want to forge ahead and continually try new ideas… but I’m under no illusions, here! ‘I Am Not Going To Fall In Love With You’ has ‘classic’ Wedding Present running through its veins. It’s co-written by Jon Stewart who was a huge Wedding Present fan when he was at university [and we were at RCA Records] and it’s as if he was drinking from a bottle of distilled essence of 'Bizarro' and the 'Hit Parade' when he came up with this one! Meanwhile, when I was at university, I was an admirer of Magazine and so, when our old drummer Charlie Layton suggested ‘A Song From Under The Floorboards’ for our live set, he didn’t get any argument from me. Carrying the pop baton from one era to the next, I suppose...”
Listen to ‘I Am Not Going To Fall In Love With You [7” Version]’ here.
Single 1 : ‘We Should Be Together’ c/w ‘Don’t Give Up Without A Fight’ – released 21 January
'24 Songs' sees the first fruits of David Gedge’s song-writing partnership with Sleeper guitarist [and now also Wedding Present guitarist] Jon Stewart and, fittingly, the first release includes a cover of the beautiful Sleeper song ‘We Should Be Together’. The Wedding Present version comes in the form of a gorgeous duet featuring David and Louise Wener. It’s coupled with ‘Don’t Give Up Without A Fight’, which combines classic Wedding Present feistiness with a Krautrock finale.
David Gedge adds: “Jon played me a demo of ‘We Should Be Together’ and told me that it was an unused Sleeper song from years ago. I absolutely loved it and immediately told him that The Wedding Present should cover it. The icing on the cake came when Louise kindly agreed to appear on the recording and we made it a duet. We did a stripped-back version for our ‘Lockdown’ LP last year but this is a new full-band recording. We first recorded ‘Don’t Give Up Without A Fight’ for a Marc Riley session for BBC 6 Music because the arrangement kind of reminded me of The Wedding Present’s cover of ‘Jumper Clown’ by Marc Riley And The Creepers.”
Listen to ‘We Should Be Together [Locked Down And Stripped Back Version]’ here.