"Locked Down & Stripped Back" is a collection of songs by The Wedding Present which you might think of as being a "Greatest Hits" but each of these songs (as the title implies) has been given the home-recording treatment due to the global pandemic. There are two new songs on here as well, for those die hard The Wedding Present fans who are unsure as to whether or not to get this cassette.
This cassette really makes me think about the effects that listening to music presented a certain way can have on the listener. Back in 2004, I listened to the Blue October live album "Argue With A Tree" for the first time and heard the song "Weight of the World". It wasn't until years later I'd hear that same song as a studio recording on "Approaching Normal" and I only ever think of the live version of it still. Listening to this cassette- and in some ways The Wedding Present does remind me of Blue October as well- could have a similar effect if you listen to these songs both ways.
Elements of Belle & Sebastian and Smoking Popes also find their way into these songs, which I would consider to be somewhat catchy as they tend to lean more towards the pop side of rock than anything else. "We Should Be Together" is one of my favorite songs and it features guest vocals from Louise Wener. It is a song which you really must hear as is "You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends", which feels like just such a more important sentiment to have during this global pandemic.
On the flip side, "You're Just A Habit That I'm Trying To Break" is an important song about knowing when it's time to walk away. "Crawl" becomes a bit more electric rock but maintains those smooth melodies. "Sports Car" makes me feel nostalgic for bands like Letters to Cleo as Melanie Howard takes the lead on vocals. There is a great guitar solo and the musical work at the end of "Deer Caught In The Headlights" just goes to show how much this can rock. I am a particularly big fan of the stripped down "Blonde" as well, a song which just feels so vulnerable.