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Phoenix-like third album from the band who were introduced to each other by Dave Stewart

In the same way that chancers like The Real People are still embittered by Oasis' success, Curve must look at Garbage's rise with disgust. All the elements that make people sneer at Toni Halliday's lot - that they're manufactured, trade on their singer's looks and are anally studio-based - are the same components that lead to Garbage getting those 0-Zone specials. Bastards. Which makes it all the more surprising that Curve have stuck to a losing formula. The MiniDisc ad favourite 'Chinese Burn' captures their prototype perfectly - an exhilarating combination of strangulated guitars, numbingly repetitive rhythms and Halliday's cybernetic vocals. But it's impossible to sustain the shock value for a whole album. They throw in an array of Aphex-like sounds to keep the listener hooked, but it only compounds the feeling that 'Come Clean' is a hollow box of tricks.

** (out of 5)

review by John Mullen (nicked from 'Select', dated July 1998)