Long before groups like Oasis and Blur provoked cross-Atlantic media hype, Catherine Wheel were evolving the Brit-Pop style that typifies the genre's distinction. With the release of Chrome in 1993, they advanced their whi... more »spered-wall-of-sound approach to rock amalgamation. Underneath the rust and steel exterior, Chrome exhibits the confidence and sonic rhapsody of its creators. Beyond such fortitudes, the vocal and lyrical arrangements are perhaps the truest accolades of the album with lyrical themes which accompany the listener to the heart of tranquilized and love-inflicted fantasies. The fuzzy solos and vibrato accord further complement the songs aided by crystalline guitar melodies. Jaded with growing pains, singer Rob Dickenson croons with perfect tenor appeal on tracks like "Kill Rhythm" and "Crank," highlighting the personal temperaments which shape the album. Turning experiences into 12-step chromatic conclusions, Catherine Wheel polish the metallic spirit in any latent rocker. --Lucas Hilbert« less
Long before groups like Oasis and Blur provoked cross-Atlantic media hype, Catherine Wheel were evolving the Brit-Pop style that typifies the genre's distinction. With the release of Chrome in 1993, they advanced their whispered-wall-of-sound approach to rock amalgamation. Underneath the rust and steel exterior, Chrome exhibits the confidence and sonic rhapsody of its creators. Beyond such fortitudes, the vocal and lyrical arrangements are perhaps the truest accolades of the album with lyrical themes which accompany the listener to the heart of tranquilized and love-inflicted fantasies. The fuzzy solos and vibrato accord further complement the songs aided by crystalline guitar melodies. Jaded with growing pains, singer Rob Dickenson croons with perfect tenor appeal on tracks like "Kill Rhythm" and "Crank," highlighting the personal temperaments which shape the album. Turning experiences into 12-step chromatic conclusions, Catherine Wheel polish the metallic spirit in any latent rocker. --Lucas Hilbert
"Chrome is a masterpiece of the electric guitar. It is albums like this that make you truly appreciate just how incredible the instrument really is. And what's more amazing, Catherine Wheel never falls into the trap of the arty "progressives" - there are no masturbatory solos here; in fact, singer and guitarist work very well together, and neither spends any time being pretentious and showing off.It takes a couple of listens to appreciate all the songs, but some will stand out during the first listen - "Crank," "The Nude," "Ursa Major," all amazingly multi-layered, very fluid and with great hooks. The lyrics seem fairly simple, but they are delivered so well that they do indeed have a deep emotional impact, especially when accompanied by the charges and crashes of the guitars. "Pain" is an amazing musical suite ("I miss my best friend," mourns Dickinson, and the listener wants to mourn with him), but "Fripp" is even more so - the intro sounds straight out of some symphony (and indeed the album is a fine guitar symphony). The Nude is an unforgettable song about a painting ("far...deep...phantom seeking, I could see...."), the hook in "Ursa Major" is nothing short of spectacular, and "Chrome" and "Kill Rhythm" pulse with Dickinson's passion.Speaking of passion - the album is aggressive, but not violent or crude; the mood is a wonderful combination of wistful sadness ("Fripp") and elation (yeah, try and tell me you didn't sing along to "Show Me Mary" - try all you want). It's an album to listen to when you're lonely and when you're happy, when you're in tears and when you're prancing about like a loon, and it creates a beautiful sonic landscape of its own that must look something like the lovely watery world on the sleeve ("I could live with you there," sings Dickinson on "Fripp"). After just two listens, I with great pleasure concluded that there's not a single weak track on here. Chrome is one of the best guitar albums of all time, one of the best rock albums of the nineties, and miles above anything in "the shoegazing scene," including My Bloody Valentine (whom they're often compared to). This is Catherine Wheel's finest hour, and they deserve to go down in the annals of rock greats for it."
"Deep, distant and pure"
mwreview | Northern California, USA | 03/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Chrome is the follow-up to Catherine Wheel's excellent debut Ferment. It still has the loud, stuffy sound of Ferment but is not quite as raw and is more varied musically. It begins with the explosive "Kill Rhythm" which is very powerful yet catchy and sports some nice duel vocals in places. "I Confess" is very nice with a killer guitar riff in the middle. Some of the tracks are a little more accessible than the music on Ferment. "Strange Fruit" has addictive guitar and pounding drums and nice duel vocals. "The Nude" is also very accessible, as beautiful and artistic as the title suggests. Other favorites of mine are the surreal "Broken Head" with the sing-along-to chorus, and the even more surreal "URSA Major Space Station" (the drums here are amazing). Then there is the quiet 7:34 "Fripp" (Catherine Wheel usually has at least one long track per album). The singles off this album are not as good as those off of Ferment. The best part of "Crank" is the opening riff and "Show Me Mary" is a little too pop. Still, Catherine Wheel's sophomore release is right up there with the brilliant Ferment. If you are new to Catherine Wheel, listen to the music clips Amazon offers and, if you like what you hear, get their first three CDs: Ferment, Chrome, and Happy Days. They are all solid with superb alternative rock material."
Luke Rounda | Lawrence, KS | 09/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Chrome" was voted by at least one big name British rag as among the best guitar albums of all time. They've got it right. With a sound that's equal parts bombast and aggression, British and nationless, and heavy by virtue of just how soaked with effects the guitars are, Catherine Wheel blossoms out of speakers.
The sonics aren't too different from "Ferment," the band's first album, but the production is stronger, louder, and better mixed, giving even more room for Futter's lead guitar storm to rain down. Dickinson's voice is one of the most distinctive ever in rock music and perfectly suited to the kind of music this band created: spacey and bordering on angelic, but with an edge.
Sudden musical shifts from meandering melodic to flat-out rocking ("I Confess"), vivid synesthetic properties ("Broken Head"'s soaring chorus honestly creates a visual of some kind of life essence escaping from someone's skull), and an overall love for crafting multi-layered guitar music are put on display here.
Few bands can write something as convincingly vintage and poppy as "Show Me Mary" (with very modern effects and production) and put it on the same album with epic guitar feasts like "Pain" and "Ursa Major Space Station."
As far as androgynously poppy fuzzpop albums to come out in the early '90s go, "Chrome" is the best, topping "Loveless" by virtue of its lack of cheesy drum machine dance rhythms and inclusion of blues-inspired guitar noise."
This was my introduction...
northernlad | 11/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was a music director at a college radio station when this came out, and along with a ton of other albums this one commanded my attention. Shoegazers??? I am sure all the label slinging yahoos are still wiping the egg off their faces. Its as if the band heard they were pigeonholed and gave them all the big finger. Just buy it...and all the rest."
I have hundreds of cd's & this might be the best.
Chris | Fort Lauderdale, FL | 02/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the first Catherine Wheel album I purchased. I now own all of them. I wish I could have back the 3 years they were recording before I was aware of them. This is still their finest album in my opinion. There is not a poor song on this CD. The mellow, dreamy tracks Fripp, The Nude, Ursa Major Space Station, are remeniscent of their fabulous Ferment CD. There are plenty of songs with a hard edge to them however: Broken Head, I Confess, Kill Rhythm. Strange Fruit & Show Me Mary are somewhere in between but are amazing still. Sit back, listen & experience this album & you might feel emotions you didn't even know you had. I would recommend it to anyone who loves music & craves something a little more complex & developed than the usual top 40 american slop."