Catherine Wheel Wishville

After a three year break (an eternity in the pop world), one of the last great rock bands returns with a fresh take on their intoxicating sound. While it took me a few listens to be convinced, Wishville is classic Catherine Wheel, dynamic, delirious "sensitive rock" in a league populated by the likes of Radiohead and few others. As with every Catherine Wheel album, Wishville turns another corner, offering a different perspective on the group's songwriting. At a lean nine tracks, Wishville is a focused, straight-ahead collection of well-crafted songs presented in shining form, evening out the discrepancies between the hard-edged rockers that populated Happy Days, and the Pink Floyd and Talk Talk-inspired introspection that characterised Adam and Eve. Producer Tim Friese-Greene (ex-Talk Talk), who oversaw the group's magnificent debut, Ferment, returns for Wishville, although the group continue to move forward, rather than return to their shoegazer-era origins. Tracks like the spiralling, perfect pop anthem "What We Want To Believe In," the quiet but powerful "All Of That" and the dark, tumbling, majestic "Ballad Of A Running Man" renew my faith that the Catherine Wheel are truly in a category of their own. I will be visiting Wishville on a regular basis. (Columbia)