Catherine Wheel Adam And Eve
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Even by Catherine Wheel's lofty standards, Adam and Eve is boldly realized. It's infused with unusual moods, textures, and ambitious touches -- such as built-up volume shifts, or keyboards and acoustic guitars that suggest endless wide-open spaces. The album is also an impressive thematic whole formed by two untitled tracks that start and finish the LP, with gentle connectors between songs in which chords of one tune drift quietly into the start of the next. In markedly lowering the volume throughout large passages of the album, they shine the spotlight on singer/guitarist Rob Dickinson, who alternates his smooth, cool, meditative cooing with a more yearning, emotional, arresting wail. Other guitarist Brian Futter, bassist Dave Hawes, and drummer Neil Sims negotiate a maze of hues and tints, from peaceful, pretty solitude to the most desperate pathos. 1996's release of Like Cats and Dogs (a collection culled from the group's more ponderous, subdued, nearly ambient B-sides) precipitated the album's more restrained approach and more ambitious scope. More importantly, like much of Like Cats and Dogs, the LP is again greatly influenced by Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock. So it's significant that Talk Talk's Tim Friese-Greene, who'd already produced Ferment and played on Happy Days, was called in again to play keyboards and ended up playing a major role in the album's sound, along with vaunted Pink Floyd producer Bob Ezrin and Garth Richardson. The more moody, reflective qualities that resulted are evident throughout, in the low-rumbling crash of "Broken Nose," the twinkling tones of "Ma Solituda," the near-Pink Floyd pastoral sweep of "Future Boy," the whimsical, throbbing ecstasy of "Delicious" and "Satellite," and the penultimate epic space-floaters, "Goodbye" and "For Dreaming." To put it bluntly, Adam and Eve is brilliant -- as playful as it is gripping, and as sweet as it is contentious.