Catherine Wheel were first lumped in with the barrage of U.K. shoegaze groups clogging up the early '90s indie charts via "Black Metallic," then accused of conceding to American alt-rock radio tropes with "Way Down" and "Judy Staring at the Sun." After that it was hard to say what people were expecting from Catherine Wheel's fourth album. But the band failed to deliver whatever that was.
Released in between Radiohead's OK Computer, and The Verve's Urban Hymns, Adam & Eve split the difference, adopting elements of Radiohead's boundary-pushing sonic explorations and The Verve's soulful emotional resonance.
All three bands had made commercial inroads stateside, but while OK Computer and Urban Hymns wooed critics who swooned over the records on year-end lists, Adam & Eve, despite receiving strong notices and a smattering of radio play, was mostly forgotten come December.
Listening to the album today, it's easy to see why. Quite frankly, there's nothing that comes close to the epic singles "Paranoid Android" and "Bittersweet Symphony." But while Adam & Eve lacked that game-breaking smash hit, Catherine Wheel still managed to best pretty much every other English (and many North American) alt-rock band that dropped records that year.
The group released one last album, 2000's middling Wishville, but never managed to regain the commercial momentum they had lost. Singer Rob Dickinson has since embarked on a solo career, but Adam & Eve remains their great, unsung masterpiece.