Cuckoos Nest - the Curve archive

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

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HOW WE LAUGH NOW, BUT IN 1991 THIS REALLY WAS considered the future. Two studio technicians - Dean Garcia and Toni Halliday - in squeaky leather, whose skill was apparently their ability to construct dense walls of techno-plated guitar screams. And then ruin it with a series of ill-conceived lyrics about inner pain.

Still, you don't need us to tell you that. Everybody knows Curve by now - a band unique in the world of hi-tech, low-calorie goth music for never having chanced upon a tune, and whose videos feature them sprinting down post-apocalyptic urban B-roads, while robots whirr tetchily in the background. They might complain that Garbage stole their crown, but the truth is they never had one to steal in the first place.

Full marks to them, then, for brazenly struggling onwards - especially as they split up a few years ago in the face of universal indifference - while still releasing identically-flawed records. Not that 'Come Clean' is completely without merit. For two tracks, at least, its precision riffs, mechanical whines, stacked layers of filthy distortion and programmed drum noise seem particularly visceral and futuristic.

Unfortunately, then you listen on. And after about track seven, the post-apocalyptic dogs gnawing noisily at humanity's ankles start to get on your nerves. All the old failings are present and correct: no tunes, songs about nothing given appropriately terrifying titles like 'Killer Baby' and 'Forgotten Sanity' and a sense of utter pointlessness that hovers over every track like a remote-controlled vulture. We could go on, but there isn't room.

Frankly, if you want an unpleasant futuristic techno record, buy an old Skinny Puppy album. In the meantime, we've seen the future again. And it's still boring.

4 (out of 10)

review by James Oldham (nicked from 'New Musical Express', dated 16 May 1998)

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