A SLOW, atmospheric, post-rock instrumental is not what a seasoned Wedding Present listener expects to hear, nor a stately and majestic track built around a worldless choir of male and female vocals, nor a sublime movement for string quartet and piano.
Yet this is how Going, Going..., the Present's new album opens - but in another way, it makes perfect sense, as band leader David Gedge is drawing on his other band, Cinerama, where he revealed his talents as a composer. Yet once the nervy guitar chords of 'Two Bridges' burst in, there is no doubting that this is no other band than British indie stalwarts, The Wedding Present.
Meanwhile 'Secretary' is classic Gedge, an agitated, anxious piece of frustration at how in the era of mass and instant communications, the inability to talk to someone at the drop of the hat can trigger a panic attack - brilliant. It would not sound out of place on the band's clasic 1987 album, George Best, and fits perfectly with the band's trademark 'mild mannered Englishman's quiet desperation finally boils over and he explodes' style themes.
Indeed, across its 20 tracks, there is not a bad song on Going, Going... with such as 'Bells' and 'Ten Sleep' holding up to the band's classic work, while also sounding fresh and contemporary. Quite simply, the best thing this great band has done in years.