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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - Cinerama

eclectic reviews and opinions


John Peel Sessions

(Manifesto, 2001)

Dontcha just hate it when you trust a critic? Somehow I got the idea somewhere that David Gedge's transition from Wedding Present to Cinerama was like Paul Weller's from the Jam to Style Council, i.e., from consistently good with spikes of better to more-or-less total cack. But I gave this one a spin anyway, because, hey, John Peel sessions -- over the years, for any number of bands, I've often liked the stripped-down, slightly rough-around-the-edges John Peel versions of tunes better than their polished-up album counterparts.

To my surprise, it turns out I just might like Cinerama better than the Weddoes. (Housemartins to Beautiful South might be a more useful comparison.) Sally Murrell's airy vocals are a perfect foil to Gedge's nasal sneer, and the expansive instrumentation -- lots of keys and acoustic guitar as well as electric, with cello, violin and even flute accents -- suits the tunes well. Since it's a little quiter overall than his previous band, Gedge's singing is a little less yelpy and a lot more nuanced, and it's easier to make out the lyrics, which are mostly worth it -- nicely nasty little ditties of lust and distrust. Some of it is a little too sad-sack and self conscious ("Dance, Girl, Dance") but the best of these songs ("Maniac," "Film," and especially, "Hard, Fast and Beautiful") are top notch.

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