Chugging On. The Wedding Present, Valentina.

Sat on an East Coast chugger slugging its way up to Leeds seems as apposite a setting as any to lunge into Valentina, the eighth studio full-length from Yorkshire's perennially cherished indie rock juggernauts The Wedding Present. As the scenery smudges into one variegated whole, past endeavours and entities are abandoned in a haze of slashed rain splattered against a double-glaze and the blooming freshness to Valentina intimates a similarly carefree approach from David Gedge et al.

For right from the off, from the opening barrage of drum thuddery that bludgeons You're Dead into afterlife an artist to have recently celebrated his silver jubilee of sorts couldn't feasibly sound more contemporary nor pertinent were Gedge belching out endless LDR reworks smattered with scrappy guitar dysmorphia. Carrying more of that visceral, blinding loud-quiet dynamic that once went out with the untimely demise of mclusky than previously, for someone alleged to be fascinated by weddings it's an opening salvo to embody a wondrously unholy sway as raucous as any stag do that marries elegiac guitar work with wandering, scuff-heeled bass lines and sensational rhyming couplets ("I understand you / And I can't stand you" for one, and quite my one and only it is too). The segueing You Jane meanwhile, title primitive, wording baffling has Gedge outrageously garbling: "There's really no need to explain / He's Tarzan and you're Jane / He's Bogarde you're Bacall / And I'm sure he has it all" over what sounds a little like Interpol's Turn On The Bright Lights phasing out on antidepressants and Acid Drops.

Meet Cute is something of a lyrical return to form, as Cinderella-esque imagery is tangibly conjured as Gedge triumphantly, excitedly howls: "I'd never met her before I found the heel that came off her shoe" prior to revealing palpable amorous anxiety, he and she (current bassist, Pepe le Moko) eventually calling it all off to give way to slippery guitar octaves and drones of "You're really way out of my league". Speaking of leagues, were Meet Cute frantically writhing around over at Elland Road then the punk drudge of Back a Bit... Stop would unfortunately be scrapping it out in Sunday leagues in Gedge's native Bramley, coming across as I, Ludicrous having a stab at ska to prove irredeemably ludicrous in itself. Stranger still is The Girl from the DDR, as Gedge insistently affirms his adoration for a certain someone (again played by the contextually loveless le Moko) before ultimately concluding: "I don't think I'm ever gonna leave my girlfriend... For you." Were it factual its binary confessional angle could be harrowing yet if fictional it's a little hopeless as it trundles atop clashing instrumentation redolent of a prepubescent Ash.

The scratchy dual drum onslaught of End Credits, with a kit panned to each ear, perhaps in altogether effective attempt to discombobulate (courtesy of lead guitarist Graeme Ramsay who sequenced the record's final 'Track Order') doesn't see off Valentina, as it instead ends on the introspective dissonance of Mystery Date. Enshrouded in wiry guitars, militant snares and Japanese narrative, Gedge exclaims: "Things like this do not happen to me" as though a lovelorn geriatric finally fulfilled in the twilight of life. It's an odd, perhaps extraneous ending that feels like an extended coda, or perhaps a bonus track as it ends in studio nattering, the roadkill to the irradiate imperiousness previous that is, or rather was, beerdrunk ramble Deer Caught in the Headlights. The latter's extended denouement of around two minutes could epitomise drama were all theatrics channeled through pedals pushed to the limits of their spindly circuit boards and it indubitably signals a path deviated from recklessly from all the jinglin' and a-janglin' past and yet it now befits the band in every aspect. Although Valentina may not be a record to shack up with, nor share a life with until death do part a short sojourn or adulterous tryst may prove rather fulfilling. Well worth a spin at least.