Catherine Wheel

Like Cats and Dogs

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AllMusic Review by

Like Cats and Dogs is a somewhat puzzling but still masterful hodgepodge that pieces together roughly one-fourth of Catherine Wheel's load of B-sides, adding a few studio outtakes. Rather than continuing the band's upward scale into harder material, Cats and Dogs scales it back to showcase the atmospheric, somber side of the band. Oddly enough, the record all but ignores the blinding number of excellent Ferment-era extras, which, when put together, would make for a recording nearly as solid as their debut. Roughly half of the tracks come from Chrome's singles/EPs. The minimalism and immediacy of some of the tracks favorably bring to mind the last days of Talk Talk, most notably Laughing Stock. It's no small coincidence that Catherine Wheel have been working with Talk Talk's Tim Friese-Greene since their early days. The delicate "Girl Stand Still" is the House of Love's "Love in a Car" times two, finishing with a noisy climax. The band's walloping fireworks aren't completely forsaken, however. "High Heels" stomps and seethes, with Rob Dickinson sounding like a crazed self-doubter nearing the brink of losing it. "Tongue Twisted" weaves Dickinson and Brian Futter's guitars into a double helix of paranoia and claustrophobia. "Harder Than I Am," is one of their most jarring, soul-bearing songs, nailed with a beautiful sing-along chorus. Like Cats and Dogs may have frustrated many of the band's admirers who hadn't shelled out the cash for the band's numerous multi-format, limited edition singles, as this does nothing to appease the completist. It does expose some relatively hidden sides of one of the most range-roaming rock bands of the '90s.

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