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"The Halliday Show"

Toni halliday:  not to be confused with Spandau Ballet star Toni HadleyY'KNOW, if it wasn't for Sir Clive Sinclair, none of us would probably have computers in our homes. But that doesn't mean we should still be sitting around trying to wire up cassette recorders to ZX Spectrums out of some sense of gratitude. Does it?

Anyway, Curve are back after half a decade in self-imposed oblivion with an album produced by Tim Simenon. They're still moody and they still wear lots of black, and some of this is quite good: "Sweetback" rivals Blur's "Song 2" in the unexpectedly heavy chorus stakes, and treads the fine crap rock nonsense line with nonchalant ease. Plus there's the music from the Sony MiniDisc ad: the furious "Chinese Burn". The problem with "Chinese Burn", and with much else on this album - see also the current single "Coming Up Roses" - is that it becomes rather less furious as it goes on, because Curve impulsively shoot their (admittedly rather impressive) wads in the first two minutes of every song.

That a band whose intelligent stance in the much-laboured dance/rock crossover field paved the way for others to conquer the charts has chosen to release an album at the same time as Garbage is certainly brave, if not a little foolhardy since, in spite of its good points this is less of a paving and more of a "Brookside" patio: all the interesting stuff buried beneath a surface that's flat and identical to the one next door. Long-term "Brookside" fans will know that it's a patio with depth and its own individual history, but for the first time viewer... Well, I'm not writing this review on a Spectrum.

I thought a lot of this album when I first got it, and so will you. But after three listens you'll be using the skip button on your CD, and before long "Come Clean" may be filed away and forgotten. But the magic's nice while it lasts.

review by Peter Robinson (nicked from 'Melody Maker', dated 23 May 1998)

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