Picks and Pans Review: Doppelgänger
One glance at the cover of Curve's first full-length album and it's clear what this British ensemble has in mind. The photo shows a pile of dismembered dolls showered in pale red light. Surely this isn't going to be the feel-good album of the year.
Curve's version of angst rock—a wall of sound, a wash of tumultuous guitars, a subtle dance beat and edgy, ethereal vocals—is not for the weak at heart. Yet, while they've been aligned with such upstart alternative darlings as My Bloody Valentine and Lush, Curve's streamlined dream pop is somewhat more dancer-friendly.
But the lyrics are strictly for those who enjoy agita. Song titles like "Horror Head," "Wish You Dead" and "Lillies Dying" signal chronicles of anguish. "I've come to mess with your head," vocalist Toni Halliday sings on "Fait Accompli," evoking dueling images of Siouxsie Sioux and a postmodern Patti Smith.
The stark beauty of Halliday's voice is a wonder. Dangerous yet fragile, she rips through the musical whirl like a madwoman. The tension rarely lets up, rendering Doppelgänger not doppel-dimensional. But if you want sunshine, go buy an Amy Grant album. (Charisma)
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