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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Curve October 20, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I always loved Curve – in particular their first album and the initial batch of singles. But how to categorise them? Shoegaze, well yes, to an extent. There was indeed shaped feedback and guitars in the mix. Techno and dance? To another extent. The foregrounded bass and electronic and dance beats were there. Industrial, at their harder edge, without question – no end of clattering in the percussion when needed. Small wonder their singles and albums arrived with considerable critical and general acclaim from 1991 onwards.

But strangely Curve were also and very unfairly regarded by a small tranche of critics as a contrived group, in no small part because in a slightly different incarnation Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia had been in a pop group together in the mid-1980s and there was a link to the Eurythmics (Garcia had been part of the live band in the early 80s). And yet why were they more contrived than, say, Garbage? Speaking of which, listen to the lyrics and they were certainly mining that seam of self-loathing that Garbage were later adjacent to (along with a fair raft of mid-90s industrial tinged or outright groups).

This was hardly surprising. Listen to ‘Doppelgänger’ and its rippling, pulsating bassline – something of a signature move of theirs that locked them distinctly into the dance as much as indie (always thought a remix album would be interesting) and one can hear a sort of reworking of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ for the early 1990s but painted in charcoal shades. This undertow of dance expands their sound remarkably.

And Curve weren’t afraid to work across genres. Their first EP featured the track Ten Little Girls with the rapper JC-001, an excellent collaboration though one they didn’t follow up later in their career (Alan Moulder, JAMC producer and later(?) husband of Halliday, contributed some guitars on). The first album was fantastic, an extension of the singles and EPs. The later albums were almost equally strong, but darker again and with a more… metallic…edge. Which raises the question why weren’t they enormous. I’d wonder did they arrive just a fraction too early, that another year or so and they’d have been there.

Garcia went on to the excellent SPC-ECO with his daughter (featured here a while back) as well as numerous other collaborations and solo work while Halliday collaborated with a remarkable range of artists (best known in some circles might be her vocals on the first Leftfield album or FSOL’s Lifeforms).

Here’s a range of tracks from the early singles (collected on the album Pubic Fruit) and first album.

Ten Little Girls

I Speak Your Every Word


Coast is Clear

Fait Accompli


Split into Fractions

Falling free (Aphex Twin remix – later on his cheeky ’26 mixes for cash’ CD)

And for good measure from the second album Missing Link


1. nlgbbbblth - October 21, 2018

They played Dublin on 28 November 1991 and it was deadly. “By the time Curve take the stage at McGonagles, the crowd at the front are packed so tightly. . .” (Barbara Ellen, NME)

I got my 12″s and CD singles signed by Toni Halliday in Comet that afternoon.

Full NME review

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - October 21, 2018

Glad someone else is a fan too. A very underappreciated band.


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