Call them erratic, bizarre, and crazy. But don't call them boring. In a time when listeners and reviewers are constantly asking for more diversity from bands, The Wedding stand as the chief example of how to avoid monotony. Everything about the band has been evolving since their debut; their drummer left and they gained two new members, their record label changed its name, and to top it all off, their sound is considerably different on their sophomore release, Polarity. Though they fused together many different sounds on their debut, it had a punk/emo flavor throughout. This time around, it's more of a straight rock feel with less punk, but the band do so much musically that they really defy any attempt to lump them into one particular genre.
The album opens with, of all things, a 47 second instrumental track with a trumpet feature. It actually transitions nicely into the band's hit rock single "Say Your Prayers," which again makes use of trumpet as well as trombone. It's a rousing opening track that's immediately followed by - what else - the sound of bagpipes leading into "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead." The Wedding resemble a beefed-up version of The Clash on many songs, and also takes cues from Tooth and Nail act The Classic Crime.
Then there are songs like "This One's for You," "Rebound," and "Southside," which sound more like what we heard on the band's debut. The last two tracks mentioned were on the band's Rumble in the South EP in a more raw form, which might have led listeners to expect a similar sound throughout Polarity. But singer Kevin Kiehn uses every ounce of his matured voice (some may even think the band grabbed a new lead singer) on songs like "It's Time to Rock (OK?)" and "Misery Loves Company." The Wedding are heavier than ever before, and they pull it off exceptionally well.
"Revelation" and "I-540" slow things way down, and it's a nice break even though the songs seriously sound like they could be combined into one eight minute ballad without anyone noticing they were once separate tracks. "Fireworks" is also a bit of a letdown as a finale, and the silly hidden track that follows, about the boys' hometown of Arkansas, doesn't seem to mesh with the band's otherwise maturing sound. There's no letdown on the album lyrically, however. The message is never watered down, with songs of praise, confession, and brutal honesty, like in "Say Your Prayers:" "Do ya wanna walk with me? / Well, if you love me then just love me / don't you give me pretty words / lay your lives down at the altar / let me see how serious you are."
Besides a few small complaints, Polarity is a surprisingly strong, uniquely diverse album which should appeal to fans of many different genres. Some may argue the band are changing their sound to fit with current trends, but regardless of whether that is true, The Wedding still have a sound like no other band today. With the diversity they bring, it will be very interesting to see what lies ahead for these talented Arkansans.- Review date: 4/14/07, written by Spencer Priest
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