The Wedding Present El Rey (Manifesto) It might not be too far from the truth to say that David Gedge gets what he wants. Countless lineup changes over The Wedding Present's 20-plus year career suggest it's either his way, or the highway - but you've got to hand it to the man, he just keeps on following his rather unique vision. And he keeps on producing music of the highest quality. El Rey sees the Leeds-born Gedge breaking in a new selection of sidekicks but also sees him reunited with famed indie-scene producer Steve Albini, who helped him put together the superb 1991 effort Seamonsters. And like that release, El Rey is an intense, emotional experience. There's drama in the lyrics, and drama in the production as Albini helps the band beef up their sound. Gedge, for his part, sometimes skirts society's fringes for tales of the weird and wonderful. But it's when he turns the focus internally that El Rey works best. The standout here is the catchy, pop-driven The Thing I Like Most About Him is His Girlfriend - probably as light as Gedge is ever going to get but coming still with a wicked sense of humour. And there's some joy to be found in the dark moments too. The sprawling epic qualities of Don't Take Me Home Until I'm Drunk have their founding in the delta blues while The Trouble With Men is layered over a sparse drum beat, but builds to a rather nasty climax as Gedge stands on his soapbox to preach. El Rey is Gedge stripping his soul bare and while that might not always make you feel comfortable at least you can be sure it will make you feel.