1993, Music

Chrome (1993) by Catherine Wheel

When a band is named after a song or an album, and you know that song or album, there’s definitely a bit of expectation even if you don’t know much else about it. Maybe this band is named for the torture device, not the David Byrne album, but yet I still assumed there would be some kind of Byrne/Heads influence here.

So I was more than a little surprised when I was confronted by something somewhere on the shoegaze spectrum (albeit considerably more “rock” than most shoegaze bands I know).

But after a listen or two, I got over whatever silly expectations I have, so I hope I can now appreciate it for what it is.

As I noted, these guys are on the rock side of the shoegaze spectrum, in the sense that they owe more to alternative rock and classic rock traditions than most UK shoegaze bands – who are often performing ridiculously loud songs, which are still pop songs at their core. I like rock more than I like pop, and so the appeal to me is stronger with Catherine Wheel than with some other bands in this area.

I also like diversity and this record is relatively diverse compared to some shoegaze, another point in its favour.

I’m not 100% sure the songwriting is quite as strong as it would need to be for me to get really excited about it, though the melodies are catchy enough.
I also think that with a stronger singer they might be really fantastic.

Still, I don’t mind this at all, and I’m definitely interested in checking out some of their other music, given what this record sounds like.


All songs written by Rob Dickinson and Brian Futter.

  1. “Kill Rhythm” – 3:51
  2. “I Confess” – 3:56 “
  3. Crank” – 3:45
  4. “Broken Head” – 4:43
  5. “Pain” – 6:31
  6. “Strange Fruit” – 3:06
  7. “Chrome” – 3:53
  8. “The Nude” – 3:51
  9. “Ursa Major Space Station” – 5:09
  10. “Fripp” – 7:34
  11. “Half Life” – 4:08
  12. “Show Me Mary” – 3:19
  • Rob Dickinson – vocals, guitar
  • Brian Futter – guitar, vocals
  • Dave Hawes – bass guitar
  • Neil Sims – percussion
  • Tim Friese-Greene – Hammond organ

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