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

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I'm long on patience
and never bland
I can take more
Than you could ever stand

-- Toni Halliday

The old Curve logo is back. Flat Earth's cover art, a jumble of old hearing aids, reminds me of the jumble of doll parts on Curve's first album, Doppelgänger. Is this some sort of feeble attempt to recapture the Curve glory days (Did Curve have any, really?) of the early nineties? And how can I reconcile the retro graphics with the album's title?

Upon hearing the all-synth, guitar-less stomper that is "Answers," the albums leading track, I begin to wonder if perhaps Curve's new adventure is that of techno music. But then the dark tone of the song kicks in and I remember the Curve has never been just about guitar noise; it's the mood that matters. Curve were mistakenly lumped into the Shoegaze scene with Ride and Lush, but this was really just a case of bad timing and one syllable names. Curve has always been too sour--just a little bit too goth--to ever be true Shoegazers.

The New Adventures of Curve is not an electronica album. Sure, a couple of songs are primarily electronic, but that's not really anything new for the band. All the familiar elements remain intact. Dean's buzzing swirls of guitar noise and undulating bass are there. The drum machines are present. The synth bleeps are still around. But most importantly, Toni Halliday's voice, always hovering just between honey and arsenic, remains at the center of the songs about love, lies, hate, fools, and sinners. She's still working out some personal issues. Perhaps I could fault the band for not evolving their sound over the years, but I choose not to. Curve is a band I'd rather not have change too much; they have a unique sound I can't get anywhere else.

Curve's real new adventure is all about distribution. After struggling with record companies over the release and promotion of previous albums, the band is taking this new release, self-recorded using Mac Pro-Tools, directly to the fans via MNS. Here is the power of the internet. By tying the band directly to its niche market, the web has allowed Curve to survive, both commercially and artistically, where previously they would have been relegated to the music industry's dustbin for sub-platinum selling acts. Curve's patience has paid off at last; technology has finally caught up with them.

review by Angry Robot (nicked from his now-defunct website, dated 14 June 2002)

http://www.curve.co.uk for ordering details.

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