Cuckoos Nest - the Curve archive

Home Discography FAQ Archive MP3 Links Contact

Images Articles Reviews Timeline

1991 1992 1993-95 1996-98 1999-01 2002

< previous next >

Bored with the so-called shoe-gazers' increasingly woeful attempts to create sparks live and in the studio, the indie populace went looking in 1991 for a brand new box of matches. They found it in the most unlikely of places: Toni Halliday, a beautiful 27-year-old protege of Dave Stewart's with a tragi-comic history of failed bands, spurious images and horrendous debts; and Dean Garcia, a taciturn session bassist who appeared on Eurythmics' Be Yourself Tonight album in 1985. They were potentially the least hip duo since rockin' Lennie Peters first hooked up with Di Lee back in the early '70s.

Their metamorphosis has been so acute that there are now few more respected groups. How have they done it? Simply with their sound. A Curve song is a thing of instantly addictive, melodic intensity. Hallidays' voice a sweet, vaguely distressed, purring whimper calls to mind Sinead O'Connor after a stridency by-pass operation. Garcia's bass swoops suggest a spectacularly irate Adam Clayton. The programmed percussion, a dancey backdrop usually assembled by Garcia, provides the structure. And the important bit - a cacophony of guitars (from Halliday, Garcia, hired Curve hands Alex Mitchell and Debbie Smith, plus co-producer Alan Moulder) give the 12 songs the tense, claustrophobic quality which has won them across-the-board acclaim for their three EPs and live shows.

Every song here is swimming in guitars - mashed, chewed, flanged, compressed, squally, howling, whatever. But no matter how cacophonous the music gets (and Ice That Melts The Tips sounds as though three guitars are beating the crap out of a fourth), Halliday's voice is terrifically sensual and seductive, sounding just the pretty side of evil.

As keen subscribers to the interpret-how-thou-wilt school of lyric writing, Curve's possible grievances are mostly addressed using drums and guitars: Faît Accompli, the new single, is a singalonga-schizoid affair, tuneful but menacing; Think And Act has a touch of Where The Streets Have No Name guitars, but it's way tougher.

Variations in mood are slight - a little slowing down for Lillies Dying, some Indian sampling for Horror Head - until the final song, a cold, grey ballad called Sandpit that only adds to Doppelgänger's shopping list of unexplained treats. If Curve are gazing at anything, it's at the whites of their audience's eyes.

**** (out of 5)

review by David Cavanagh (nicked from 'Q', dated April 1992)

click here to go back to the top