Sunday, October 31, 2021

Catherine - "Saint" from the Album Sorry!

First came across this on the Spin This Six sampler, from 1995, and found it to be powerful stuff. I immediately started looking for the album. I looked it up, best as I could, back before I had the internet. The band was from Chicago, "saint" was from their debut record, they were on TVT Records. It took me a while, but when I found it, as I had to back then, at a used record store, I was disappointed; there was nothing as good as "Saint" anywhere in sight on the rest of this album. Which doesn't doesn't change the fact that this song just explodes.

You can't get around it. And given the LOUDquietLOUD way that this song proceeds, I couldn't help but be reminded of the band which was so huge, probably more so when I found the thing in '97 or '98 than when I got the Spin sampler in '95: Smashing Pumpkins. So maybe like the Count Five ripping off The Yardbirds, and making an album out of it?

And that's where it stood with me until this morning, when I pulled out the record to, what the hell, give it another listen.

There were no revelations; they've got a song like "Daydream," all orchestrated, and plenty of that Pumpkinsy guitar-sounds-like-a-wooshing-synthesizer thing sprinkled throughout. An early Bee Gees cover, for what it's worth . . . .

Then at lunch, the CD in its second playthrough, I figured I'd go on Wikipedia, and see what they had on the band. And a couple things I read surprised me. First off, Sorry! was not Catherine's only album. They made four of 'em before they packed it in. And though 1994's Sorry! *was* their debut, they 'd actually formed in 1985. Which was, when I looked it up, three years before Billy Corgan's outfit started up. So, question: who was ripping off whom?

Under the "Critical Reception" tab on the wikipedia article for this album, they cite a 1994 review from one Mark Jenkins of the Washington Post, who, unbelievably, wrote, "The motto on the front of Catherine's Sorry! -- 'Better living through noise' -- seems about as dated as the sound of this Chicago quintet . . . ." 'Cause 25 years later, this album--good or maybe not so good but with a damned good highlight--sounds so much like 1994, you'd think OJ was emceeing. If you told me this coming Friday when I'm drunk that I had to pick a sound contemporaneous to 1994, and that Siamese Dream was already taken, well, I'm kind of unpredictable when intoxicated, but I'd probably pick Sorry!.

Another interesting thing I found out is that by the time of Jenkins' review, Catherine drummer, guitarist, engineer Kerry Brown had actually married D'Arcy Wretzky from The You-Know-Whos. File under: Chicago Wall of Guitar indie