Fans of singer-songwriter Rob Dickinson's old band The Catherine Wheel should not expect to hear the same spacy, silvery guitars and feedback-filled solos on Dickinson's new album, Fresh Wine for the Horses. Nor should they expect any visceral ditties like TCW's "Happy Days" -- with its angst-ridden line "Eat my dust you insensitive fuck" -- or surreal sonic overtures like "Black Metallic." Dickinson's got a new bag now, and it's filled with acoustic guitars, palatable pop-rock riffs, and pieces of Leonard Cohen and Dave Matthews. The philosophical Brit writes like both and can sound like either, which is impressive when you consider Cohen's baritone growlings and Matthews' weird tenor. And Dickinson's still got a knack for writing solid songs that go great with wine and pining; he's as evocative as ever in songs like "Handsome," where he croons, "I follow mudslides, I follow mudslides in my head/And some of them may leave you wasted/A part of you is dead." Long live the lovelorn.
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