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"Halliday '92"

She's an indie rock glamour queen. And he isn't. After that, the Curve story gets complicated.

article by Andy Gill.

WHEN Toni Halliday first bumped into Dean Garcia, backstage at a Eurythmics gig, it wasn't so much love at first sight as the first inklings of a viable working relationship - not as sexy as love, sure, but just as much grief in the long run.

When that long run ended a few years later, they weren't talking. In fact they were suing each other. Their pop-funk outfit, State Of Play - modelled on Propaganda - had done little, at great cost to Virgin Records. Dean departed for Spain. Toni embarked upon a solo career whose sales profile proved remarkably similar to State Of Play's. Then... nothing.

When Toni and Dean bumped into each other again a few years later, they decided to make another go of it, this time as Curve. A year later, they had recorded four hugely acclaimed indie Eps, done three short tours, had their debut album, Doppelgänger, set for release, and were preparing for a world tour. Clearly, they'd had some catching up to do.

"It was very tentative at the beginning," recalls Toni, dark and petite and possessed of a hard glamour. "It was like, We're writing together, but we're not really writing together. It was like that for a few months until we realised we had to go with it, that the chemistry was right. That was the most important thing, 'cos we'd both worked with other people and never found that thing again."

The results of their efforts were instant: a debut EP, Blindfold, won rave reviews for the fresh slant it threw on the drone-rock of such allegedly "shoe-gazing" colleagues as Ride, Lush, Chapterhouse... all the usual suspects. But unlike most new bands, who fumble their way towards a mature style, Curve came into the world fully-formed.

"This time round, we had a very clear idea of what we wanted to do," says Dean, an all-purpose muso who used to play bass for Eurythmics. "We wrote six songs in a week, and put four of them out. We didn't have a skipful of songs."

Curve's music, honed further through the Frozen and Cherry Eps and the current single Faît Accompli, is, they claim, an attempt to weld the rhythmic drive of black music with the loud, distorted guitars of indie rock: black beats and white noise, with Toni's impressionistic lyrics, positively Cronenbergian in their obsession with things insular, internal and embryonic, cutting through the mix. It's a blend which, oddly enough, places them closer than most to the drone delirium of My Bloody Valentine, of whom they at times sound like a more user-friendly version.

"The lyrics are very much in alignment with the rhythm end of it, for me," says Toni, "because the way Dean likes to work the bass and drums, it gets you on the inside, you're moving before you're aware of it, you just get swept along."

The obvious qualitative difference between Curve and many of their contemporaries is partly due to their wider musical experience - both have been around the block a few times, incurring indie criticism for their professionalism and friendship with Dave Stewart - and partly down to their free access to the 16-track studio in the basement of the flat Toni shares with boyfriend Alan Moulder, producer/engineer of such as The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, and part-time Curve guitarist.

"It helps," admits Dean, "We don't make demos, we write straight onto the blank tape. Most bands write a demo, then go into a mega studio to do it 'properly'. And they never ever catch it right again. We never do that; if there's any magic there, we catch it."

"Basically, we just tart up demos," says Toni. "When we go into a bigger studio we just transfer it onto two-inch tape, and add the last 25 percent of production on the extra eight tracks." It is, apparently, unusual for a producer - in the case of Curve's album, the increasingly omnipresent Flood - to come in at such a late stage of proceedings, but it's a method that seems to work fine for them.

"Inspired moments are few and far between as it is," concludes Toni. "It's not like you're constantly inspired every time you work. There's a lot of hard work in between those pockets of inspiration."

(article nicked from 'Q', March 1992)

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