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ROB DICKINSON
FRESH WINE FOR THE HORSES
SANCTUARY

Catherine Wheel were one of the best bands of the alternative-rock era, laying the foundation for emo while staying true to their own mix of pop hooks and expansive guitar sonics. Five years after their break-up, frontman Dickinson ó cousin to Iron Maidenís Bruce Dickinson ó makes his solo debut. This disc has plenty of the melodic appeal that made Catherine Wheel so winning, and his voice and his songwriting remain a romantic one-two punch. "My Name Is Love" and "Oceans" are radio-ripe wonders, but the albumís amiable charm could use a little rock-and-roll harm. Whatís missing are the gorgeous walls of guitar that were Catherine Wheelís signature, the sonic adventures that unfolded in numbers like "Black Metallic" and "Gasoline." Nonetheless, spare ballads like "The Night" echo the bandís shimmering studies in sound. And Catherine Wheel fans will dig "Towering and Flowering," which features Dickinsonís former mates ó drummer Neil Sims and guitarist Brian Futter ó as well as long-time producer Tim Friese-Greene on bass, evoking their old musical mystery.

BY TED DROZDOWSKI


Issue Date: October 21 - 27, 2005
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