From a band that once strictly limited their sets of heart-rending thrash-indie about teen angst and extramarital intrigue to one hour, no encore, a 75-minute ninth album opening with four ponderous post-rock instrumentals based on shipping forecasts and Gallic chorales seems a provocative move.
But since reforming in 2004, iconic Leeds indie pioneers The Wedding Present have given mainman David Gedge’s rough-hewn – but always premium-grade – melodies more breathing space. Sure enough, 15 minutes in, the grime-smothered guitars of Two Bridges kick in, oozing melancholy and menace.
Drenched in the brutal lo-fi filth and fury of their Albini-produced 1991 masterpiece Seamonsters, but with added touches of pure metal and an elegant dash of Gedge’s orchestral pop side-project Cinerama, the 20 tracks of Going, Going… cohere into an ambitious noise-pop edifice.
Bear, Birdsnest and Ten Sleep are torrents of euphoric grunge hooks, Fifty-Six could be Opeth covering the Friends theme, Santa Monica is a sky-scorching finale and the speed-freaking Secretary captures the psychotic mania of anyone who’s ever been on hold to Virgin Media’s complaints department. Dense, rich and deeply rewarding.