Album Shuffle 006: Curve, DOPPELGÄNGER

Anxious · 1992

About halfway through the album I found myself asking myself grumpily why I had it in the first place; surely I couldn't have thought that anything this monochrome and repetitive would be a priority in my listening life someday. Glancing through the factoids a single search gleans, I realized why: because this is the band that people always say Garbage ripped off.

I don't like Garbage either.

That's not exactly true. I haven't listened enough to Garbage to know whether I like them; and if I was able to just choose one Curve song and soak in it for a while I bet I'd like them just swell, but over the course of an album (even if it is a mercifully brief 11-song one; 90s British indie got one thing right anyway) they shift and moan and jackhammer and flare in a very narrow groove and after I've said that they sound like My Bloody Valentine except instead of Kevin Shields it's Trent Reznor and instead if Bilinda Butcher it's late-period Madonna (without the memorable lyrics any such substitutions would imply), there's not a lot left to say.

It's quite true that I haven't listened to much shoegaze outside of one narrow groove (Loveless and, er, that's it), that I haven't listened at all to the electronic-industrial it was apparently Curve's stroke of genius to apply to shoegaze (one disgusted run through The Downward Spiral aside), and that there's really nothing aside from some of Toni Halliday's vocal tics and the distant memory of old Shep Pettibone beats to remind me of Madonna. So there's a lot of untested assumptions running through my approach to the album. But nevertheless I was getting ready to write it off as another bad bet, composing at least some of the above in my head as I pulled into the garage . . . .

And then I unjacked my iPod from the car stereo and put in headphones instead and !

Doppelgänger sounds a lot better on headphones. This is about all I'm willing to say in its favor so far, though you may if you wish color me intrigued. It still sounds overly bright and busy, those blocky jackhammer presets getting in the way of hearing anything else, but at least I can tell that Halliday's singing lyrics now. (Even if I keep wanting her to sing "Vogue" over top of it.) Another quick search, and it seems that "Faît Accompli" was the big single. Well, I'll see what I can get out of it. No promises, though.

And then I might check out this Garbage I've heard so much about too . . . .


Andrew TSKS said...

It was indeed "Fait Accompli" that was first released as a single. For my money though, it's "Horror Head" that is the classic track off this album. Even it probably isn't quite as good as the pre-LP single "Coast Is Clear" (eventually released in America on the compilation "Pubic Fruit"), but it's close enough to deserve your focus.

I'm probably going to write about this on my Nuggets Of The Future tumblr thing eventually, and steal some of your analytical points. I'll link back to this blog post when I do so, no worries.

Jonathan Bogart said...

I'm glad to hear it; "Horror Head" was the song that stood out to me the most over a couple of listens. (And that one adds the Cocteau Twins to the mix.)

In other news, I had analytical points?

Post a Comment