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Cinerama: Disco Volante

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Cinerama

Album: Disco Volante
Label: Manifesto

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The secret to any great band's success is knowing when to stop. The Wedding Present was one of the U.K.'s strongest and most popular acts, but singer David Gedge understood that all good things must end. Though the group never officially disbanded, it has remained inactive since 1997 and Gedge seems to have settled into his new project, Cinerama. This time around, his distinctive grumble isn't the sole holdover from the Weddoes. Disco Volante, Cinerama's second album, was partially recorded with Steve Albini, who gave The Wedding Present's 1991 classic Seamonsters its dynamic thump. Then there's the return of late-era Wedding Present guitarist Simon Cleave. But, beyond those elements, Cinerama continues to explore ornate ground, full of orchestrations and arrangements that never would have fit into Gedge's previous projects. If The Wedding Present could best be deemed a guitar band, Cinerama could be termed an anything-but-guitar band. The disc's opener, "146 Degrees," sounds like Chic doing the James Bond theme, a stylish exercise that introduces Cinerama's goal of lounge-cool crossed with pop bliss. Some fret fuzz does show up on songs such as the wonderful "Your Charms" and "Wow," but for the most part the 11 tracks are delectably embellished with accordions, vibes, flutes, horns, strings, and keyboards. From the Serge Gainsbourg-goes-Motown shuffle of "Lollibrigida" to the cinematic sweep of "Aprés Ski" to the Bacharach-worthy "Superman," Disco Volante is a treat, an unassuming melange of '60s pop styles that's disarmingly sweet and consistently endearing. It's a logical sidestep away from The Wedding Present that neither lets listeners forget Gedge's rock roots nor lets them be missed.