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Album Review

Centered around re-recorded versions of four songs from the band's two Wilde Club singles and the seven minute lovelorn "Black Metallic" - which was referred to as the "Like a Hurricane" of the ‘90s - the deeply rich Ferment firmly established Catherine Wheel amongst the shoegaze contingent of the early ‘90s. The band would proceed to denounce the shoegaze tag, but it was a fitting one, at least with everything they released prior to 1993's harder edged Chrome. Along with bands like Lush, Ride, and Slowdive, Catherine Wheel buried their sing-along melodies in wafts of distortion and blurry production values. Rob Dickinson had yet to find comfort as a lead singer, so his somewhat fey and dazed emoting blended perfectly with Tim Friese-Greene's comfy production. A fair amount of the bands thrown into the same category as Catherine Wheel were criticized for lacking knowledge of their instruments, but a couple listens to Ferment should prove that they were hardly amateurish. The employment of numerous guitar pedals didn't serve as a smoke-and-mirrors ruse, and Friese-Greene knew enough to allow room for bassist Dave Hawes and drummer Neil Sims to flex their able muscles. Dickinson and lead guitarist Brian Futter were immensely skilled and complementary to each other from the band's inception; certainly they were one of the most unrecognized guitar duos of their stylistic brethren. Like all fine debuts, Ferment is varied emotionally, ranging from lust ("I Want to Touch You") to bliss ("Shallow" and "Salt"). It's a record that makes you want to crawl inside its sleeve and remain. It's as welcoming as it is insular and sheltered.

Customer Reviews

Greatest Band on the Planet NOW

This is the best band on the Planet, from their first album to thier last Rob Dickinsion gets it. Where is the music world? This band lies in relative obsurity. I think there manager is a "nice guy friend of the band" but he must suck at marketing. Nobody knows who these guys are after ALL these years. There name will eventually go down in history with the likes of Paul Rever and the Raiders, Cream, Roxy Music, the Band, the Stones, Hendrix and Peter Gabriel....ect. I LOVE music. It embodies me. I am an archiect and my whole life is about the aesthetics of design. Rob with his cohert CAN DESIGN a song. Wheather the subject is about love and the psychological "soul" of everyday life of 22nd Century Schitzoid man to a song about love for GASOLINE...It is as intense as a F16 landing on your face and as soft as a pink furry sweater on your first girl friend. My wish for Christmas is...I wish iTune carries ALL of Catherines "B" sides and ALL singles plus ALL thier video (anything good live). Hint...hint marketing guy...make it happen NOW...I could...I would buy them ALL. We need more Fresh Wine for the Horses.

Open This Door

Catherine Wheel has to be one of the most completely underrated bands of all time. Despite a series of strong efforts that were filled with hard driving rhythm and thoughtful and intelligent lyrics (a rarity these days) the band never met with the commercial success afforded to so many lesser talents. Perhaps this is a mixed blessing for we fans of CW in that our favorite songs didn't get "radioed to death" or put on as a lead to a FOX TV show. In any event, please do yourself a favor and spend some time with all of their albums. There are some absolute gems from Ferment to Wishville that will have you rocking out in unexpected ways and reinforcing the perplexity as to how this group wasn’t ever “bigger.”

The First of an amazing series of work!

The itunes review here is excellent. All in all, this is an astounding debut for a young band that went on to strive and innovate upon the familiar 4 piece rock sound . A very difficult thig to do in the 90's! This cd is very innovative in its darring and skillful appraoch to the swirling wash/wall of sound dream-pop. They prove to be masters of guitar feedback and tasteful noise. These guys really held the holy grail of this style, i heard the Verve, to me, style and no substance. Cut to CW...aww substance, heartache, emotion all wrapped in the swirl -in a sensual brilliance never to be repeated. I gladly disvovered this CD to be a GREAt make-out music. Just add candles and some wine , and rock never sounded so sexy! If you buy this , slowly get the rest as they keep reinventing classic rock. an impossible feat!


Formed: April, 1990 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

By using their influences as a mere launching pad and consistently developing their many strengths, Catherine Wheel was able to outlast all of their early peers. With their initial singles and first album, the band from East Anglia fit snugly with the remainder of bands that the British press eventually labeled as shoegazers, a short-lived sub-scene of bands that were characterized by an inactive stage presence, loads of effects pedals, and buried vocals. However, the always tuneful Catherine Wheel...
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