El Rey - The Wedding Present
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Gedge and Albini is a match made in heaven, and El Rey is an excellent follow-up to one of their finest works together.
  2. No matter how fraught or heartbroken these stories get, each is gifted with an indelible chorus, and even the few tracks of sort-of filler like 'Soup' are performed with enough verve and energy that El Rey zips by.
  3. El Rey has its share of surprises, mostly in the vein of its particular subject, which is the cruelty older men visit on younger women, and vice versa. But mostly it's merely another Wedding Present record: witty, randy, guitar-heavy, and not quite satisfied.
  4. The expert recordings and mixes on El Rey provide a marquee for these intimate investigations of the complex social and emotional landscape of Los Angeles to glow long into the night. [Summer 2008]
  5. If you've been sticking by the group for long, you'll be rewarded by El Rey's brutal honesty, hard-won wisdom, and first-rate songcraft, and you'll relish the sound of a band trying to recapture a brilliant sound from their past and succeeding completely.
  6. 70
    He sounds too lecherously happy to reach the emotional depth of his best work, but for lessons in proto-Brit-rock, he remains a top authority. [June 2008, p.119]
  7. Solidified by finally having a mostly established band, this record is less impressive than their pre-’90s work, but better than anything since 1994, and generally a welcome addition to their already established résumé.
  8. It’s a mere change of scenery, then, that separates this from much of the Wedding Present’s canonical work; the scabrous schoolboy humor of their 1987 debut, "George Best," has become the scabrous, middle-aged cynicism of El Rey.
  9. 60
    No "George Best," perhaps, but a rugged, well-meaning Paul Scholes of a record nonetheless. [July 2008, p.100]
  10. Though a certain battle weariness has set in, many songs lacking The Wedding Present's trademark guitar bluster of old, Gedge remains wry, dry and wholeheartedly likeable. [July 2008, p.111]
  11. El is the kind of album you listen to once--and appreciate--but never really groove through with any regularity.
  12. One for the fans, but it would be churlish to deny that the Wedding Present still have plenty to offer.
  13. His guitar hooks are reliable enough on El Rey, the seventh all-new studio Wedding Present album (compilations and live discs abound), and Steve Albini engineers them vividly enough, but it's the words that fail him.
  14. 40
    Maybe it's not Albini's fault that El Rey lacks the melodic thrust of earlier projects, but this is wiry, unappealing fare. [July 2008, p.114]
  15. Much of this album is leaden and lumbering, with the vocals mixed low (thanks, Albini) and gummy bass tugging at curtains of distortion, but there are shining exceptions.

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