Named for an immersive widescreen film projection system that predated IMAX, Cinerama were founded by David Gedge after he put the Wedding Present on sabbatical following a 1997 tour. Centered lyrically around Gedge's regular themes of courtship, romance, love, lust, and infidelity, Cinerama also indulged Gedge's love of film music from John Barry to blaxploitation, as well as the classic songwriting of Bacharach/David and the less dramatic sides of Scott Walker -- a comfy spot between twee and Tindersticks, certainly more powerful and gutsy than the former and not as dark and solemn as the latter.
Primarily a duo shared with his mate Sally Murrell, Cinerama employed a shifting lineup of collaborators and full-blown members. Released in 1998, debut album Va Va Voom featured the help of the Church's Marty Wilson-Piper and Emma Pollock of the Delgados. Gedge rescued the rhythm section of the disbanded Goya Dress (Terry de Castro and Simon Pearson) in 1999, employing them as members, and former Weddoes guitarist Simon Cleave was a regular in the lineup since the group's first show.
Rivaling the bin-clogging release schedules of the Wedding Present, Cinerama issued a clutch of multi-format singles in support of Va Va Voom, as well as a number of intervening releases prior to 2000's Steve Albini-recorded Disco Volante. Notable were the band's inaugural release on its own Scopitones label on Valentine's Day of 2000 and the single "Manhattan," which featured a cover of the Smiths' "London" on the B-side. Conveniently collecting the group's first four singles, This Is Cinerama was released just weeks after Disco Volante. They were also frequent guests on John Peel's BBC radio program, and in time released three albums of their recordings for his show. In 2002, Cinerama released their third proper album, the dark, guitar-driven Torino. Spring 2003 saw the release of Cinerama Holiday, which collected the entirety of the group's fifth through eighth singles, and a clutch of live recordings followed.
In 2003, David Gedge and Sally Murrell ended their musical and personal relationship, and Gedge chose to revive the Wedding Present rather than continue recording or performing as Cinerama; his next album was the Wedding Present's Take Fountain in 2005. However, Gedge occasionally includes Cinerama songs during Wedding Present shows, and periodically revives the project for festival appearances. In 2014, Gedge and his Scopitones label released Seven Wonders of the World, a compilation that brought together the tracks from Cinerama's last five singles. Soon afterward, Gedge revived the Cinerama name to work on his long-gestating idea of recording a batch of songs in the styles of both the Wedding Present and Cinerama. With the help of Spanish indie pop musician Pedro Vigil, Gedge dramatically reworked the Wedding Present's 2012 album Valentina, delivering it in May of 2015. ~ Andy Kellman