Too bad David Gedge didn't form his band in the Midwest in 1995 instead of 1985 in England, directly in The Smiths' shadow. Maybe then he would have had a shot. Actually, there's no maybe about it. Look at the career trajectory of The Promise Ring, and you'll see what could have been for Gedge's fantastic The Wedding Present. The Promise Ring (and they've admitted this) basically aped The Wedding Present Single White Female-style, from Gedge's breezy, bitter pop songs to his group's twee-hee-hee name. Gedge still wouldn't have been a star, of course, but he would have enjoyed the kind of house-party hero status that was eventually conferred on Davey Von Bohlen and his Milwaukee bandmates, not to mention sales in the low six figures instead of sales of, like, six. But it's not too late. Eight years after he left to form Cinerama, Gedge is back at it, with his best batch of sex-and-the-city songs since 1994's Watusi. The guitars are strong enough for a man, but Gedge's cigarette-stained voice is made for a woman--who, from the general tenor of the lyrics, will one day leave Gedge a fairly unhappy fella. Something I suspect he would be anyway.