David Gedge put the Wedding Present on a shelf after a 1997 gig. Since then, he's concentrated on the classic pop-oriented Cinerama, centered lyrically around his regular themes of courtship, romance, love, lust and infidelity. Since Gedge spent the better part of two decades in a band that painted his diverse tastes into a corner musically, it's no surprise that his new work would be just as heartfelt and prolific as that of his former band. A fittingly titled group, Cinerama has indulged Gedge's love of film music from John Barry to blaxploitation, as well as the classic songwriting of Bacharach/David and the less dramatic sides of Scott Walker -- a comfy spot between twee and Tindersticks. Certainly more powerful and gutsy than the former, and not as dark and solemn as the latter. Those familiar with Gedge's gravelly vocalisms should be pleased to discover his steady transformation into a relatively smooth crooner.
Primarily a duo shared with mate Sally Murrell, Cinerama has employed a shifting lineup of collaborators and full-blown members. 1998's Va Va Voom featured the help of the Church's Marty Wilson-Piper and Emma Pollock of the Delgados. Gedge rescued the rhythm section of the disbanded Goya Dress (Terry de Castro and Simon Pearson) in 1999, employing them as members, and former Weddoes guitarist Simon Cleave has been in the lineup since the group's first show.
On pace to rival the generally welcomed bin clogging of the Wedding Present, Cinerama released a clutch of multi-format singles in support of their debut LP, as well as a number of intervening releases prior to 2000's Steve Albini-recorded Disco Volante. Notable was the band's inaugural release on their own Scopitones label on Valentine's Day of 2000 (Manhattan), which featured a cover of the Smiths' "London." Conveniently collecting the group's first four singles, This Is Cinerama was released just weeks after Disco Volante. They've also been a frequent guest on John Peel's BBC program; in early 2001, Manifesto released John Peel Sessions. By year's end, the Health and Efficiency single was out, featuring a cover of "Diamonds Are Forever."
In 2002, the dark, guitar-driven Torino was released. Spring 2003 saw the release of Cinerama Holiday (Manifesto), which collected the entirety of the group's fifth through eighth singles. ~ Andy Kellman
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