Originally Written and Posted at Epinions.com on 9/20/08.
After releasing three acclaimed EPs that were hits with critics and people in the shoegaze music scene, Curve, consisting of vocalist Toni Halliday and multi-instrumentalist Dean Garcia, were already getting attention for their blend of the burgeoning shoegaze music scene with Goth and electronic music. With help from Eurhythmics co-founder Dave Stewart and his label, Curve managed to secure a deal as they worked on their debut album. Helping Halliday and Garcia on the record is Flood, the famed producer who had worked with acts like U2, Depeche Mode, and Nine Inch Nails. Also helping out is Alan Moulder, the engineer who had just worked on the acclaimed My Bloody Valentine album Loveless.
Produced by Flood with contributions by Steve Osborne and Alan Moulder, Doppelganger is an album that takes Curve's palette of shoegaze, electronic music, and Goth along with ethereal, sensual vocal styles of Toni Halliday. Often abrasive at times and soothing in other places, the album reflects of Curve's unique musical style that's often overlooked by the public. The result is one of the 90s overlooked albums from a band that never got the credit they deserved in the alternative music scene.
The album opener Already Yours arrives with pulsating, electro beats courtesy of Steve Monti as it's followed by the driving, distorted guitar washes of Dean Garcia. Toni Halliday starts to sing in her cool, sensual vocals with Garcia's guitars backing her. Filled with eerie, descriptive lyrics of obsessed love, it's definitely a great opener to the album. Horror Head is a smoother yet guitar-driven song with sputtering, clapping beats and Halliday's swirling vocals through Flood's atmospheric production. With Halliday singing a high-pitch vocal style, the song is filled with abstract, dark lyrics of claustrophobia with screeching guitars and electronic noises. Wish You Dead is an upbeat, pulsating track led by its drum machines and washy, droning guitars by Garcia. Halliday's engaging, cool vocals are more intense as she sings dark yet imagery-laden lyrics as the song continues to warble with its guitars, beats, and Flood's heavy, layered production.
The album's title track is a smoother yet atmospheric track led by its throbbing electronic background, distorted guitars, and Halliday's cool, eerie vocals. With the beats starting to hit more snare-like rhythms, the song becomes more driving as Halliday sings more chillingly through the production and the song's eerily, descriptive lyrics. Lillies Dying is a smooth, upbeat track with pulsating beats and Garcia's driving, shoegaze-laden guitars with Halliday's engaging, wailing vocals filled with dark lyrics of death and Garcia's shimmering guitars. Ice That Melts The Tips is a mid-tempo number with rollicking, rolling electro-beats and a driving guitar wash that features swirling chimes. With Halliday's cool sensual vocals leading the way, she also goes into soothing yelps for her vocal acrobatics that is matched by the song's cold, descriptive lyrics of love gone wrong.
Split Into Fractions is a thumping, rhythmic track led by its blazing guitars and sputtering synthesizer background. With Halliday's hypnotic, eerie vocals, the song swirls as Halliday sings different vocal keys through the song's unique presentation of electronic music and shoegaze. Think & Act is a more kinetic, bass-driven track with pounding snare beats and a driving guitar track as Halliday sings in a high-pitch, dream-like vocal with dream-like arpeggio guitar chimes in the background. With its swirling, shimmering production and Halliday's vocals filled with mind-numbing, dark lyrics as Garcia's distorted, feedback-laden guitar continue to lead the way. The single Fait Accompli is a mid-tempo track with its rhythmic beats, layering of driving and wailing guitars, and Halliday's dark, engaging vocals. With lyrics filled with dark tales of love and heartbreak, Halliday's vocals are the highlight through Flood's atmospheric production.
Sandpit is a dark, ominous track led by Halliday's chilling yet sensual vocals as she is accompanied by Flood's atmospheric production and soft, swirling guitar feedback and arpeggio chimes by Dean Garcia. With its haunting lyrics, Halliday's vocals are the highlight as it's one of the best songs on the album. The album closer and bonus track in the U.S. version of the album is Clipped. The fast-paced, pulsating track with siren-like guitar swirls and rhythmic electro-beats is led by Garcia's guitar and Halliday's cool, engaging vocals that are filled ominous, eerie lyrics. Produced by Steve Osborne and originally from the Cherry EP, it's a fitting closer to the entire album.
When it was released in 1992, the album was a hit in the U.K. charts as well as a minor hit in the American alternative music scene. Though the shoegaze scene was in decline, Curve managed to standout with their musical pallette. A sound that some people claimed that was taken by the American grunge-pop band Garbage in the mid-90s with great success. Though Halliday and Garcia claim that what they did was simply in the style of pop music while Curve says they're not a pop band. Yet, Doppelganger was still the band's most commercially successful album while often considered to be one of the definitive albums of the shoegaze scene.
Doppelganger is a great debut album from Curve and one of the most underrated records of the 1990s alternative music scenes. Fans of acts like Garbage, Nine Inch Nails, and other rock-related acts with electronic flourishes and pop hooks will enjoy this. Anyone interested in Curve should pick this album up as the best place to start. In the end, for anyone that's into cool vocals, lot of noisy guitars, swirling electronic backgrounds, and top-notch production. Curve's Doppelganger is the record to get.
Curve Albums: Pubic Fruit - (Radio Sessions) - Cuckoo - (Come Clean) - (Open Day at the Hate Fest) - (Gift) - (The New Adventures of Curve) - (The Way of Curve)
(C) thevoid99 2011