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Fresh Wine for the Horses

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Album Review

Around the time Catherine Wheel turned ten, the band dropped a bassist, added a "the" to their name, and released a turkey. When they broke up, shortly thereafter, Rob Dickinson's first solo album was only a matter of time (five years). Once the disappointment in the lack of adventure on Fresh Wine for the Horses washes away, it becomes apparent that Dickinson spent at least part of his time away becoming a sharper songwriter. Catherine Wheel songs, at their very worst, could be overwrought and insufferable, but Dickinson keeps it all in check, avoiding doe-eyed self-absorption and addressing a "you" with more frequency than ever. (Rest assured, he did not learn the latter move from Coldplay.) Structurally, this is a fairly conservative set of songs — at least when compared to the likes of "Fripp," "Car," "Girl Stand Still," and Adam and Eve's more exploratory passages — that covers a lot of the territory heard in Dickinson's past work, plus strings galore. After "My Name Is Love," a soaring introduction that smartly stops just short of saying "here is the anthem!," the album settles into calm contemplation, only to give way to a second half that throws in a couple rockers that strut and snarl with as much ease as "Broken Head" and "Broken Nose." One of these songs, along with the closing "Towering and Flowering," is a resuscitated turkey-era CW leftover that is, perversely enough, spectacular. Throughout, Dickinson's in better voice than ever while adding plenty of sweet background harmonies. Given the way his old band departed and the amount of time it took to materialize, Fresh Wine for the Horses is better than most could have expected. Fans who favored Catherine Wheel's more left-of-center moments will be unhappy that Dickinson is more into refinements than innovation here, but an album full of mostly great songs is an album of mostly great songs. [Released as the Sanctuary label was well on its way down, the album later found a new home on Fontana — with some help from Dickinson supporter Bob Ezrin, who had helped produce Adam and Eve (not to mention hundreds of major rock albums). Dickinson gave it a sonic overhaul, added a new song ("The End of the World," a highlight), and resequenced the original running order of the songs. A second disc was also added, featuring acoustic versions of Catherine Wheel favorites.]

Customer Reviews


This song is so good, I almost like it better than the Original. Rob Dickinson's Voice is Amazing! Also Listen to "Where We Are" by Rob Dickinson/Neverending White Lights.


Born: July 23, 1965

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The cousin of Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson and, much more importantly, the guitar-playing frontman of Catherine Wheel, Rob Dickinson went solo a few years after his band, after five albums, made the decision to stop. Released on Sanctuary, the label operated by Catherine Wheel manager Merck Mercuriadis, Fresh Wine for the Horses was issued in 2005 but slipped out of print once the label went out of the new-release business. Thanks to some nudging from Bob Ezrin, who had worked with Catherine Wheel...
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Fresh Wine for the Horses, Rob Dickinson
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