Well produced, swirling, and atmospheric, “El Rey” is all the songs that play in a John Hughes film while the nerd pines at a rainy window, watching the girl next door get into the jock’s car, sit shyly, only to be mauled and date raped. And then, at the end of the montage, she show up at Nerdboy’s door, hair soaked, blouse transparent . . .

Which is to say, it’s dramatic, a little whiney, funny, and charming. It’s Duckie.

The Wedding Present have been in the biz for about two decades now, bubbling under when Pavement became a cult band, staying below the radar when Oasis got big, and all the time making music that was basically just as good. This is the band’s eighth release (I think), and their second with producer extraordinaire Steve Albini, who seems to really get David Gedge’s sound. My sole complaint is that the excellent bass guitar work is sometimes buried beneath the vocal and rhythm guitar tracks, but that’s a minor point. If you’ve ever wondered if shoegazer could shout; if you’ve ever wanted to know what it sounds like when John Cusak cries . . . This is the album for you.

Santa Ana Winds

Bonus track:

Everybody Knows Your Name (Theme From Cheers)

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