SEPTEMBER 12

Initially, Catherine Wheel seemed like the Mighty Lemon Drops of noise-pop. Just as the Drops were considered a second-rate Echo and the Bunnymen (complete with crap name), Catherine Wheel always played second banana to Ride and Lush. But as the shoegazer class of 1991 fades from memory, Catherine Wheel proves itself to have the type of staying power John Holmes could appreciate. Judging from the erotic themes on the new CD, Adam and Eve, singer-guitarist Rob Dickinson is in a Holmesian mood (“You spill you grip you squeeze/Something delicious,” Dickinson sings on “Delicious,” taking on Led Zep’s “Lemon Song” one fruity allusion at a time.) Eros casts his spell over the cover art, too: Pink Floyd’s primary cover boy Storm Thorgerson folded 12 naked people and crammed them into a box, Hollywood Squares-style. And thinking of Pink, the abrupt ending of “Here Comes the Fat Controller” is a direct lift from the Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine,” and Adam and Eve producer Bob Ezrin is the man who helped shape The Wall. Yet, for all its Floydisms, the band that kept popping into my head during Adam and Eve is the Wallflowers. Yeah, ouch. But Catherine Wheel is more sonically dynamic, writes better hooks, has a more compelling singer, and no one—not even the Mighty Lemon Drops—should be runner-up to Jakob “What Genes?” Dylan. With Geneva and Feline at 9:30 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $15. (202) 393-0930. (Christopher Porter)