Co-Editor in Chief
Excitement is in the air! To coincide with the 25th anniversary of Ferment, a little UK company called Records on Tape has decided to reissue the album in a cassette format. How fun! Following the lead of Eminem, Green Day, and other 1990s acts that have recently resurrected this long-dead medium, the Wheel is also giving us the nostalgia treatment.
Well, not really the Wheel; I don’t think they’re involved at all. But anyhow, it happened.
I just got my hands on a copy, and I’ve dusted off my cassette player. I’m writing down my first impressions here, sort of like ‘liveblogging’ or ‘livetweeting,’ except not in blog or Tweet format. What a treat! I hope you have fun as you take this journey with me.
OK, I’m opening the package now. Ha, that familiar smell! It takes me back to the good old days. Remember what cassettes smelled like? Nice liner notes, too: they look just like the liner notes back in the day! Well, no, not quite. A couple of typos. But it’s the music that matters!
Isn’t it wonderful? This band has been dormant for such a long time, so it’s great to be reminded of them. In my mind, Ferment might be their best album. It captures a time when everything felt new and exciting. So many young bands on the shoegaze scene! Ride! Slowdive! Chapterhouse! I loved that time. I miss it. It was 25 years ago. I was a child! So much of my life ahead of me.
And now I’m pushing the play button, and here comes “Texture”—oh, that riff! Wow! And the drums!
I know you can’t hear this, but do you remember what it was like to play a cassette? It’s probably been a while. What a unique way of experiencing music! Even on the very first play, the tape is already starting to warp slightly. I’m getting a sort of underwater effect. Cassettes! They’re funny things.
“Texture” is a great song. It’s the exact same song, in fact. I mean, I know the band hasn’t laid a finger on it since its original release. Really, the only thing that’s new here is the imperfection of the cassette, which has nothing to do with the band, I suppose. And the cassette aspect isn’t new, either, because the band released this album on cassette back in 1992. I have that cassette somewhere, too!
So, uh… let’s see, what am I reviewing here? I’ll think about it. This is new somehow. I just need to figure out how.
I guess you probably know the song if you’re reading this. I’m sure you agree it’s great.
Hey, there’s the guitar solo! Definitely Brian Futter. The old Futt-man. Yep.
Texture, texture, texture, you need to give me more…
“I Want to Touch You”
Ah, here we go! Lovely song, basically perfect. Again, it’s the same song as before, but this is really about all about the memories, right?
Oh, shit, hold on a second. The tape’s got stuck. Off to the rescue!
Whew, that was close. Off we go again. I reckon it’s going to stay a little wrinkled in that spot, but who cares? That gives it character. I mean, that’s a joke, but I’m looking on the bright side…
Guitar solo! Brilliant. I could sing this song in my sleep. I want to touch youuuu…
Hmm. Again, you probably know this album well. I’m struggling for things to say now! But trust me, it’s fantastic to hear it again.
Guitar solo again!
I think I know what you’re thinking. This is just another cash grab by the record companies, releasing this album in yet another format without really offering anything new. Exploiting the nostalgic fan who will buy anything, etc. But so what? Collecting is its own reward, right? If it brings the fans some joy, who cares? I mean, that’s capitalism, right? Mindless acquisition? I think that’s a form of joy.
Huh. Is that tape hiss?
Rob looked like this when the song was recorded. Just let that sink in. #thisiswhyyoufeelold
Oh, it’s the moment I’ve been waiting for! Nothing can touch this song. I’ve heard it hundreds of times, but it never gets old. This is sort of a crappy recording—these days, I’d get better sound quality on Spotify—but I set out to do this, so I need to see it through. Yeah. Paid good money for this.
Well, they chopped a piece of the first solo. Really horrible edit and totally unnecessary. It only saved a few seconds.
Let me check. No info about that edit on Google. I suppose they did it to fit the album onto cassette? No, that can’t be right. Oh, there’s another one. Yikes! I wonder if the band knows about these decisions?
Ha. Who am I kidding? The guys haven’t cared about these recordings for ages. Slice and dice at will, vandals! Nobody cares. Hahaha… I’m probably the only sucker who bought this!
(Later that day.)
Sorry, I had to stop the tape and take a walk, and then I came home and fell asleep. I suddenly felt a little moody. Not sure why! Anyhow, all better now and ready to dive back in.
“Black Metallic” continued
Yeah, “Black Metallic”!! As I’ve said already, we’ve all heard it hundreds, maybe thousands of times. Here we go again.
God! What’s going on here? Is it my headphones? I swear I’ve got some weird reverb effect now. Hold on a second while I pause this and switch to my mobile phone.
No, it’s not the headphones. This song sounds great!
What a joy to hear a band return after decades of absence with such lovely music. Excuse me while I finish this song. Yeah, I know I’m supposed to be reviewing Catherine Wheel. Shut up! There’s no hurry.
OK, sorry, I was gone for a while. I ended up listening to that whole album. Back to this thing. Rewind!
Starting over with the song. Gotta give it a fair try.
Yeah, I don’t know, it just seems… flat and lifeless. I’m not sure what the problem is.
OH FUCK IT’S THAT SHITTY EDIT AGAIN
Who worked on this? Is it even remastered? Absolutely no useful information in the liner notes. Wait, does that say “CATHRINE WHEEL” on the back? What’s going on here?
OH THE FUCKING CHRISTING SHITFUCKING EDITS AGAIN FUCK FUCK FUCK
I CAN’T EVEN LISTEN TO THE GUITAR SOLO THIS FUCK IS RUINED FOREVER
OH FUCK YOU, RECORDS ON TAPE, I’LL FUCK YOUR SHITTY FACE TO PLUTO FOR RUINING THIS SHIT
OH YOU JEEEESUS CHRIST YOU DID IT AGAIN!!! FUCKING TALLY-WHACKER MINGEFLAPS
OH WAIT THAT’S HOW THE ORIGINAL WENT, MY BAD
THIS IS NOT REALLY THAT DIFFERENT FROM THE ORIGINAL I GUESS, BUT I’M HATING IT NOW
I THINK WHAT WAS TRULY FLAWED HERE WAS MY EXPECTATIONS
YEAH YEAH YOUR SKIN IS BLACK METALLIC QUIT FUCKING REPEATING IT, WE GET IT
“Indigo Is Blue”
I AM A MERE SHADOW OF A MAN
OH GOD. OH GOD!!! WHAT EVEN AM I? WHAT HAVE I ALLOWED MYSELF TO TURN INTO?
I LIVE FOR REISSUES AND RARITIES
I TREAD A MINDLESS PATH OF NOSTALGIA, SEARCHING FOR UNATTAINABLE YOUTH
I AM SO TRAGICALLY EXPLOITABLE BY THESE FUCKING CYNICAL CORPORATE NOSTALGIA PEDDLERS, THESE CHARLATANS
THIS WHOLE THING SUCKS, ALL OF IT
AND THE SHINY PAPER IN CASSETTE LINER NOTES STINKS LIKE VOMIT IT ALWAYS HAS AND I’VE ALWAYS HATED IT
GOD I’M DEPRESSED. NO, ANGRY
I’LL BEAT THE LIVING FUCK OUT OF FUCKING WHAT SONG IS THIS EVEN? SHUT THE FUCK UP!
OH HAHA I BROKE IT
I BROKE THE CASSETTE. I GRIPPED IT IN MY SWEATY MANDIBLES AND SNAPPED IT WITH SUPERHUMAN STRENGTH. I FUCKING CUNTED MY CASSETTE PLAYER IN THE FUCK!
I CUT MY EYEBROW! A CASSETTE PLAYER FRAGMENT BOUNCED OFF THE WALL!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!! AND I’LL CUT YOU IF YOU GET TOO CLOSE!!! HAHAHA! I AM THE CAPTAIN NOW!
I should probably take a shower.
(Two hours later)
Lovely song. Beautiful! I feel much better.
This is Rob Dickinson. This. Currently. Is Rob. My god. Fuuuuuuck.
We’re all doomed.