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Cinerama is the latest band from David Gedge, whom you might remember from such phenomenal 80's brit-pop bands as: The Wedding Present. In The Wedding Present, Gedge wrote love songs. Some were angstful. Some were sappy. Some were sad. Most were about the fact that women just don't understand him. I am sure that many of us can relate....

The Wedding Present broke up, surprise surprise, when Gedge found a steady girl. She's named Sally, and she plays keyboards. As a result of this, previous Cinerama albums explored keyboard melodies rather than the intense guitarwork of The Wedding Present. In all honesty that was a disappointment to me: i found the first two Cinerama albums to be weak and lacking. Oh sure, Gedge's remarkable way with words was still there, but with the keyboard backing it just never really seemed to gel correctly. In fact, after being bored to tears by 2000's Disco Volante, i swore off The Gedge.

This held until fan buzz began indicating that the 2002 album was more guitar-y, and that Gedge was playing old Wedding Present songs in concert. And then i heard, through the miracle of streaming audio, a rather lengthy John Peel Session with the band, and they did, indeed, rock. Not the intense "my girl left me, life stinks, so i'm just gonna play fast and with gobs of feedback" sort of rocking guitariness of The Wedding Present, but still much better than Cinerama had rocked before.

So, i finally bought this album. And you know what: it kicks ass. David Gedge can write a melody better than almost anyone else. And he has a real way with words, able to craft clever lines with vivid imagery.

And yet, well, there is one thing that kind of bothers me here. You see, i am a Prude. I don't want to hear about your sex life, and i won't share mine with you. Some things just don't need to be talked about, okay? Well, Mr. Gedge disagrees, because where Wedding Present songs were about love, Cinerama songs (at least on this album) are about sex. I mean, if you really listen to the lyrics here, well, it's not PG rated, okay. Not that he is too disgustingly graphic, but there are a few descriptions and phrases in here that make me think "oh my". Then again, that might just be me, and you might not be so concerned with this.

At any rate, this is a lovely disc, full of interesting and catchy tunes. Wedding Present fans will find things to like, such as the schreeching guitar lick that kicks off Two Girls, or the slow build to guitar frenzy in Quick, Before It Melts, or the spanish tinged guitar wail of Careless. All of these are great tunes, and they will fit right in with Seamonsters and George Best in your collection. The guitarwork here will tell fans of the Gedge that, yeah, he's still got it.

But The mans real talent is his ability to write such catchy songs. Careless, Starry Eyed, and Health and Efficiency are toe-tapping, "singalong in the car" tunes. They can't help but put a smile on your face as you belt out the words along with him, frightening the old lady in the next lane. In fact, Health and Efficiency, which was actually the single off of this album, is just such a damned fine pop song that i really can't even say anything else about it. It's good: really good. It builds from a slow simmer of crowd noise samples and strings to a feedbacky guitar apex, and then back down again. It is a rock song with the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus format, but it is exceedingly well executed.

So, in the end, i am very impressed with Torino. This is a fine album with catchy riffs, toe-tapping beats, and witty lyrics. If you are a fan of Brit-pop, or, indeed, pop in general, then you need to track this down. And if you, like me, are an old Gedge fan who was worried that this album would suck as bad as his last few, then i cheerily inform you that it does not, and that you will like it.

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