After releasing two records that faithfully followed the noisy, swirling trance-like psychedelia of My Bloody Valentine
, Catherine Wheel trims out all of their excesses on Happy Days
. What is left is a throttling, pounding heavy metal band that accentuates the rhythm, not the texture. The change in direction is surprisingly effective and accessible -- none of their previous work has been as immediate as "Way Down" or as bracing as "God Inside My Head," nor has it been as melodic as "Judy's Staring at the Sun," a duet with Tanya Donnelly. Perhaps the switch to a heavier attack shouldn't be surprising -- Chrome
was filled with harder guitars -- but the fact it has produced the band's best music is a pleasant shock.