David Gedge, long famous as the frontman for the UK indie favorite the Wedding Present, has released his second lush full-length with Cinerama. Gedge is a pop wizard who has been drawn into the deep end of sensual indie, yet he’s not going for kitsch points (as did the hordes of Gainsbourg and Hardy followers). With Cinerama, it seems that Gedge has been filling out indie pop with slicker styles and smoother grooves in order to reinvigorate this sometimes-stagnate genre. Disco Vilante has this equation just right. Far better than 1998’s Va Va Voom, Disco Vilante, with a little help from Steve Albini, retains some of the Gedge edge that fueled the Wedding Present. In fact, Disco Vilante sounds like the Wedding Present at its best, although as a much more polished version of that angular outfit. The album evokes some of the energy and power that went into the Wedding Present’s 1994 smash, Watusi. A couple of the numbers on Disco Vilante, especially “Because I’m Beautiful,” could easily have appeared on Watusi. Continuing with amorous themes from both the Wedding Present and Cinerama, not surprisingly, the songs on Disco Vilante are based on both unrequited and requited love, desire, sour grapes, and women’s body parts. Some of the real knock-outs include “Your Charms,” “Heels,” and “Superman.” As usual, Gedge’s voice on most of the tracks is so distinctive (and strange) that it should provoke either adoration or annoyance. In the end, though, for those who are at all interested in resplendent, sexy indie — an unlikely mix — this record should come as a welcome surprise.
Manifesto Records, 740 North La Brea Ave, 2nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90038-3339; http://www.manifesto.com