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The Gutter Twins: Saturnalia


The Gutter Twins

Album: Saturnalia
Label: Sub Pop

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The Wedding Present has made a career out of bitter, cutting songs about unfulfilled love and human small-mindedness, set to sawtoothed guitar sounds. The verdict on the band was that, yes, it may be somewhat like The Smiths, but it's a hell of a lot meaner—and if bandleader David Gedge was Morrissey, he was a carnivorous Morrissey who wanted nothing more than to kick your ass. Not so any longer. Saturnalia is a pleasant enough recording, but the acerbic, barely controlled rage that infused albums like Bizarro is gone from these 12 songs. When Gedge sings, "This is the real thing, no doubt... this is what love should be about" during "Real Thing," there's an unpleasant implication that he might actually mean it. This seems wrong; a band can change its image, but it shouldn't pull a reversal of everything it's always stood for or against. Bands that do tend to make albums like Saturnalia; good and rocking in parts, but also confusing, uninspiring and ultimately forgettable.