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Our critics' picks in new releases



When a songwriter with the lyrical flair of The Wedding Present's David Gedge decides to name his side-band after a boffo three-screen projection process of the 1950s, you expect something more ambitious, more cinematic, than a mere post-pop guitar band. Sensually droll lounge pop, Disco Volante reveals Gedge's smooth side; his vocals caress the melodies like a warm hand on your thigh as he spins tales of desire and morning-after regret.

Cinerama's sophomore release, Disco Volante (a Bond movie reference) is more a full-band effort than their debut, Va Va Voom. Although the band's core is still Gedge and partner/Wedding Present cohort Sally Murrell, several tracks are co-credited to guitarist Simon Cleave. With TWP on the back burner, Cinerama allows Gedge to up the ante, arrangement-wise, and go sophisto: flutes, vibes, strings, and horns rather than TWP's harder, strummy guitar rhythms. The opening track, all sweeping "oohs" and flutes over the grandly orchestrated chorus, is a nod to soundtrack master Ennio Morricone. Next is an ode to stacked '60s Italian starlet Gina Lollobrigida, which opens with Gedge's vocal at almost a whisper over the resonating vibes of the verse, breaking into a charming falsetto over the accordion-driven chorus. (Gedge goes Gainsbourg: "Je T'aime" minus the heavy breathing.) "You need a paramour, someone to pluck your eyebrows for," he sings to an ex who has found another lover, "just another one who thinks you should be adored." Like Galaxy 500 and Luna's Dean Wareham, Gedge's romantic musings are drenched in ennui, a world-weariness that's all the more affecting.

Reunited with producer Steve Albini, (who'd worked with The Wedding Present), Disco Volante's "film" is a hard, focused view on love shot through a Vaselined lens, playing to a tastefully orchestrated, timeless soundtrack.

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