on May 8, 2003
Nearly six years after it's release, this album still stands as one of the best releases of the Nineties. While it never drew the widespread acclaim of Radiohead's OK Computer, which was released the same year, I still listen to this album frequently.
A & E, as it is known among Catherine Wheel fans, contains a rich mixture of styles and emotions, varying from quiet, reflective numbers (such as Future Boy and Ma Solituda) to mid-tempo pop (Satellite, Broken Nose) to full on rock (Delicious, For Dreaming). The one constant is that the songwriting and performances are consistently excellent.
While the cd is often compared to Pink Floyd and Talk Talk, the influences really vary and go well beyond those bands. Delicious, for example, is a terrific exercise in Nirvana's classic verse-chorus-verse style. For Dreaming, on the other hand, reveals the band's early 90's roots in the vastly underappreciated dreampop/shoegazer scene.
Rollingstone.com named this the best album of 1997, and the Big Takeover Magazine, largely on the strength of this album, recently named Catherine Wheel as the best band of the 90's (over Radiohead).
The real tragedy, however, is that due to record company hassles, this album was never properly promoted and is now out of print in the US. While C/W went on to release another cd, the less inspired but still very good Wishville, this is an album that has few peers. It's well worth the price of an import.
on September 25, 2005
The consensus opinion holds that this album requires a couple of listens before growing on the listener. The cause and effect are hard to sort out. That's like saying the sun comes up in the morning; it doesn't, but without knowledge beyond what we can see and know for ourselves, it sure seems that way. I'm inclined to think that CW's albums require a couple of listens to prepare us to love them. Only then can we hear the chaos and quirks and realize that the guys *meant" to do that. The albums teach us, patiently and pleasantly, to recognize their beauty.
I don't mean to gush, really, but only after hearing a CW album a few times do we gain a frame of reference for appreciating the album as a whole. As others have said, A & E progresses through its own life story, each song preparing us for those that follow. In other words, this album has a plot, much like the plot of a well-written novel. Though each song can be appreciated on its own, part of what I love so much about "Here Comes the Fat Controller" is the anticipation of getting to hear "Goodbye" as soon as the Fat Controller has passed. (Incidentally, though it's been pointed out that the abrupt cutting of one channel, then the other at the end of "Fat Controller" is reminiscent of Floyd's "Have a Cigar," it is used here for an entirely differently reason and with an entirely different effect: There is simply no other way to end a song of such carefully built momentum than--quite literally--to pull the plug on it.)
The grows-on-you phenomenon we all recognize within each CW album applies to the listener's appreciation among the band's albums as well. I first discovered CW when Happy Days came out, and became enlightened enough to appreciate it after several turns in the single-CD player that was stacked on top of my VCR at the time. When Like Cats and Dogs arrived, Happy Days remained my favorite--until A & E showed up. Only then did Like Cats and Dogs eclipse Happy Days, and so on.
Wishville has me feeling desperate now, as I don't know whether the Wheel will put out another album. Dickinson's voice is unique and exquisite, but without the succor of the balance of the band--Futter's inspired and inspiring virtuosity with a guitar, the way he makes a mere six strings sound like an orchestra; the clever and intricate frettings of erstwhile bassist Hawes; drummer Sims' squeeze-em-in fills and, how does one say it, cool cymbal rides--that amalgam of dynamism, cohesion, and structured movement might not appear in his solo work. (To be fair, I've only heard samples, and Dickinson has certainly earned the right to several careful listenings before any prejudicial reviews get penned.) With all the talent among the four, augmented by the contributions of Tim Friese-Greene, the incredible harp of Mark Feltham on the Wheel's transcendent interpretation of "Wish You Were Here," etc., this band has demonstrated album after album that they have depth, breadth, texture (no pun intended), heart, mind, and soul. I have hope for A 50-Foot Monster's release in 2006, but it occurs to me that the band--like the songs on their albums--are meant to be enjoyed together. As each album is greater than the sum of its songs, so too is The Catherine Wheel greater than the sum of its members.
I think I now understand the maudlin howls, the weeping and gnashing of teeth that followers and fanatics of other bands have exhibited upon the inevitable split. It looked silly on them; but the Wheel's albums have taught me, patiently and pleasantly, what it means to truly love a band. Now it is I who wears the sackcloth and ashes.
Get Adam & Eve. It's the very best album from a group of guys whom I clearly believe to be the very best band.
on January 29, 2002
Adam and Eve has changed my life. Really.
I purchased this when it was first released, listened to it a couple times, and like many reviewers here, put it aside. This album is different from other Catherine Wheel discs, more layered, less obvious. It wasn't until I listened to it again almost two years later that I began to really appreciate it.
Unlike most albums made since the MTV era began, Catherine Wheel attempted to make a complete album. Some would call it a concept album. Together, the songs take you on a journey. Not a storytelling journey, but an emotional journey.
It begins with the hopeful Future Boy, jumpable, rocking, Delicious (the only song that gets any airplay) and the powerful Broken Nose. The next are the anthem-like Phantom of the American Mother and Ma Solituda, which could never soar like they do without such a compelling introduction. Satellite is another danceable tune that reminds me of Catherine Wheel's earlier shoe-gazing days, except it is better. Thunderbird and Here Comes the Fat Controller showcase the extraordinary talents of lead singer Rob Dickinson and guitarist Brian Futter. This album even has a real ending, with Goodbye and For Dreaming, two long songs that seem to agree with us about stretching this exceptional experience on as long as possible.
Adam & Eve introduced me to a whole new realm of intelligent and thoughtful rock, and for me it still stands above everything else. I must disagree with those who rank Radiohead's OK Computer above this. Sorry, but Adam & Eve is so much more FUN, while being intelligent and brilliant too. What could be a better combination?. Listen to it about ten times and see if you begin to agree.
on April 26, 2004
I am a big fan of Catherine Wheel's first three albums, but was disappointed when I first listened to Adam & Eve. Usually, song after song by Catherine Wheel hooks me, but I only came away with the catchy "Phantom of the American Mother," the intense rocker "Delicious" and the celestial "Future Boy" after my first few listens to this CD. Because I'm a CW fan, I did not give up on Adam & Eve, and now I have found more to like about this album. It is really pretty solid through the 8th track "Thunderbird." It is a more melodious album than the heavy-sounding Happy Days so, those who were turned off by CW's third album may want to give Adam & Eve a chance. The last tracks on the CD are rather flat. There is a bonus 12th track that is a rather stale slow number. As much as I like "Phantom...," it is not the grand slam track I've come to expect from CW albums like "Black Metallic" off Ferment or "Heal" off Happy Days. Adam & Eve is not a bad album, it just takes more spins in the CD player to get into than their first three brilliant studio albums. CW really raised the bar.
on November 4, 2005
I vividly remember seeing Catherine Wheel perform Adam & Eve in its entirety at The Metro in Chicago one warm August night in 1997. The sound was pure and visceral. It was the best sounding concert I have ever attended. I didn't mind the ringing in my ears the day after.
Years later, this CD still resonates. Adam & Eve doesn't so much grow on you as collect in your subconscious and change your soul. The most obvious parallel Pink Floyd's Animals. At first listen, the songs don't appear to go anywhere. They seem to ebb and flow like the sea. But, the next time you listen to Future Boy, Ma Solituda or Phantom of the American Mother you may just stifle a tear for no apparent reason. The music is just that good.
on June 14, 2001
"The" Catherine Wheel is a truly great band, with each of their CD's entirely different from the last. "Adam and Eve" is the pinnacle of their achievement so far, and I would suggest that anyone uninitiated in the ways of The Catherine Wheel should make it their first purchase from the band (I'm assuming that anyone already introduced to them already has the disc, or else shame on you). It's an explosive set of self-sufficient songs, unlike their earlier albums which focused more on the overall arc of the disc, and each and every song on the album is a winner. My favorites include "Goodbye," "Phantom of the American Mother," "Delicious," "Ma Solituda," and "Satelite." The songs varry from soft poetics to harder rock, from seven minute epics to guitar driven pseudo-pop. It's probably the third best album of the nineties (after Radiohead's "OK Computer" and Lisa Loeb's "Tails" in my variety-informed opinion). The disc is a must have, accesibile and fun for any type of music fan. A real winner.
on May 31, 2007
Adam and Eve is a remarkable album that should have made a major splash but didn't for whatever reason. I loved this album the first time I heard it , it just flows like any classic album from any era. I am VERY fussy with doling out 5 stars for an album but this one totally merits 5 stars. There are some anthems on here that just blow the doors off of anything that came out in the 95-98 era of post grunge soundalike bands. "Delicious" is a playful little Rock and roll classic, "Broken Nose" is like a Train barreling down the tracks on the advent of the Appocalypse , "Ma Solituda" is a ballad of utmost beauty. My fav of favs on this album is "Satelite" which to me is on of the greatest rock anthems I have ever heard. I can't bounce high enough nor pump my fist in the air long enough when listening to this gem, it brings out so much emotion in me its hard to explain.
This was it for The Wheel unfortunately, tired of getting rooked by the industry, they called it a day in 2000 following the pathetic "Wishville" album.
Anyone who saw them live I totally envy , those of you who bought and loved there albums like I did keep forging on with great memories of CW and fact that they deserved to be Giants in a really messed up affair known as the Rock music industry.
on April 21, 2010
This album changed me. It changed my taste in music.
I loved loved Catherine Wheel's 1995 grunge heavy metal album "Happy Days" when I was 15. I listened to it all the time, turned it up loud, and fed off its pounding energy. I was so excited when I heard in early 1997 that Catherine Wheel has a new album coming. I couldn't wait. I couldn't wait. Then "Adam and Eve" came out and... I was disappointed. So disappointed. Just so surprised to hear them so stripped down and bare. What is this sissy crap? You know, I thought I was about to bite into a sloppy chili cheeseburger with bacon and onion rings only to discover that I just bit into a warm goat cheese sandwich on wheat toast with beansprouts and eggplant. WTF?? Very startling and upsetting for an aggressive 16 year old. I listened to it just once, put it on my shelf and didn't touch the cd for 3 years. I wasn't alone with that opinion, many of the newer fans weren't into it, and the label was upset, ultimately dropping the band and letting the album go out of print quickly.
3 years later, I picked it up again for some reason at the much more mature age of 19 and discovered maybe the most beautiful thing I ever heard. My god. This album is stripped away and about pulling back the layers and getting somewhere authentic. I can now tell that Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" and Talk Talk's "Spirit of Eden" were a big inspiration. I heard the song "Future Boy" and I was stopped cold. You understand the meaning of the song just from the production mixing, when the rising swirl of insanity and noise disappears into a singer alone with his acoustic guitar. I wanted to learn how to play this song on guitar. I'd been playing guitar for 3 years at this point, but it was this song that got me to turn off the distortion and learn chords beyond metal power chords. This started my journey through acoustic rock. And I was suddenly sad to realize that creating one of the most beautiful works of all time earned this band the reward of being dropped from their label and having their album go out of print to fade into obscurity.
Although they did add one radio friendly song at the last minute; "Delicious" is a cool song, just out of place here.
If this album didn't exist there never would have been any Coldplay. Listen to Coldplay's first record "Parachutes". It's a watered down attempt at "Adam and Eve". But props to Coldplay, they were so much better when they tried to pull off Catherine Wheel than when they tried to pull off U2.
on August 29, 1999
this is one of my favorite albums, and for the rest of those catherine wheel fans out there here's a creepy hidden song that i stumbled upon completely by coincidence...
the last song on the cd is a near word-for-word reading of one of the pages out of nick hornby's book 'high fidelity.' look for the chapter (in the book) that ends with rob's comment, "that would be good. great, even." over half the writing on that page are the lyrics of the unamed song #12 on the adam and eve cd. i started to suspect that nick hornby's protagonist wasn't named 'rob' by mistake...
what even more eerie is the fact that a friend of mine found this out while listening to the cd and reading 'high fidelity' at the same time. makes you wonder what else is hidden there! at first i thought it might be 'just a coincidence,' but on the inside of the cd fold-out it reads: "thanks to nick hornby for his book high fidelity."
just thought you other fans out there would like this little chunk of info... especially if you've read high fidelity...
on September 16, 1999
Without a doubt the best album ever!!!!! I have been following Catherine Wheel for about 5 years now and I continue to be amazed by the work they put out. 'Adam & Eve' absolutely knocked me on my butt when I listened to it for the first time and it continuely gets better every time I listen to it. 'Future Boy,' 'Phantom,' and Ma Solituda' are my personal favorites, but how do you pick a favorite from a masterpiece? If you don't have it, get it immediately. If you haven't seen them in concert, GO!! I pay homage to the best.