US press release
Date: 23 Feb 1994 13:18:45 -0400 (EDT) From: Cupage of Immortal Splendour <cupage#vaxsar.vassar.edu> Subject: VIRGIN PUBLICITY: CURVE To: curve#stack.urc.tue.nlGeesh, this puppy is long! but i typed it for everyone. Again, this is the official press release from the U.S. branches of Charisma Records and Virgin Records. This is one amazing bit of writing, let me tell you. <heavy sarcasm, for those that couldn't tell> i'm not sure what this guy was on or thinking when he wrote this, but hey, it's his job and the record people were happy with it. just watch for all the puns and inuendos. who am i to criticize, i suppose. i typed this in exactly as it is on the pages...spelling mistakes and all. i left them the way they were because i found it both amusing and disturbing that they would send out an imperfect document. happy reading.
CURVE. They come just before Curved Air in the Guinness Book of Hit Singles. But let's go mad for a moment.
CURVE hurt. CURVE soothe. CURVE lift. CURVE separate. They do a lot of stuff that the world has stopped demanding of its pop groups. Five people hurtling madly around a nucleus of Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia, they came like a comet, different from everything in Britain at the time, blazing a trail from the classified ad section of a well-known musician's paper and the horrific stigma of past careers into indie credibility, mainstream box office and an Aphex Twin remix...Goes something like this...
March '91: Blindfold. An EP. A revelation. Only available on import, played on every cool radio station. Bringing out the Edgar Allen Poe in every Boy Rock Critic, this four-way scorcher was thick with menace, alive with horror, bright with ideas. "Ten Little Girls," the opener, laid down the CURVE master plan. Pounding rhythm, ice-sharp vocals, layered electric noise. "Fast" rapper JC-001 was on it. It was not Madchester. It was an independent number one in the U.K.
May '91: Frozen. An EP. A thrill. The first commercial release in the U.S. Lead track "Coast is Clear" was a taunting, grandiose epic squall with a beating heart. It was an independent number one and also cracked the "proper" Top 40 in the U.K.
November '91: Cherry. An EP. A blast. Only available on import. Lead track "Die Like a Dog" was a glorious wretched beast, its riff cascading into a pit of hell. Naturally. It was an independent number one and also cracked the "proper" Top 40 in the U.K.
February '92: Fait Accompli. An EP. A killer. A fait accompli worse than death, this upbeat, twilight singalong was a fanfare for the full monty to come...It unloaded its grand neuroses at number 22 in the U.K., thanks very much. Never released in the U.S.
March '92: Doppelganger. A debut album. A monster. Wrapped in dead babies, this stately record, a sonic manifesto, was more than just a wall of sound. Self-produced with Flood, and mixed by emergent super twiddler (Ride, My Bloody Valentine, and now Smashing Pumpkings) and unofficial sixth CURVE member Alan Moulder, its ability to sandblast your nerve endings for breakfast is matched only by its tendency to inebriate the listener with its aromatic charm. "A CURVE song is a thing of instantly addictive melodic intensity" spotted one of many incisively positive reviews. "They create a cavernous noise that is not so much a storm in a teacup, as a monsoon in a coffee mug," spotted another.
The subsequent "Doppelganger" tour sold out two London shows; Doppelganger itself went Top 10 in the U.K. album charts and was a huge college and alternative smash in the U.S. CURVE's live dates as a working band toppled the critics, one by one. Here was a five-person unit that fed off itself and stalked the stage with more intent than all of CURVE's supposedly more "genuine" contemporaries. Never mind turning your blood to ice and tingling your spine. CURVE also kick posterior. Big Time.
But never mind the records. It's not just about records. Abour release schedules. About commerce. About Dave Stewart. CURVE are about belief in oneself, beyond the pale of trends and trials; they make music to move people, rather than units. The accusations of contrivance that dogged their first year in the limelight were soon dust. Their sound soaked up all the other sound.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE MAD TO WORK HERE, BUT IT HELPS.
Toni Halliday, 28, was born in West London and "educated" on a yacht in the Mediterranean. This education included arriving back in Sunderland sans Dad. Not a problem. You can't keep a good woman down. At 16 she was "discovered" by Dave Stewart (then of the Tourists) who lured her to the Smoke, where she joined The Uncles and gave future rock 'n' roll archaeologists their first fossil, a single called "What's the Use in Pretending?" They split. A year later, Toni was introduced to Dean Garcia, now 35, whose time as a sessioneer had taken him round the globe with the Eurythmics (he played on the Touch and Be Yourself Tonight LPs). They formed State of Play (Exhibit B) who signed to Virgin and bought a one-way ticket to Litigationsville. Toni, solo, signed to Dave Stewart's Anxious Label and put out an album called Hearts and Handshakes. A collector's item now, of course. She and Dean reconvened in '89 and CURVE were formed with a man called Jack Daniels as the witness. The past ended here.
By the beginning of 1992, CURVE had two mini tours under their belt, a sellout London date, and a whole clutch of end-of-year accolades from the music papers' readers polls (Brightest Hope, Best Female Artist, the inevitable Object of Desire). They toured the U.S. twice in '92, having garnered an inordinate amount of "alternative" interest, firstly on their own (cluminating in a one-off superbowl gig with the Cure) and later in the year, as one big third of the U.S. Rollercoaster tour. CURVE's arch rock theatricality made them the perfect filling for a sandwich made of Spiritualized and the Jesus and Mary Chain. The venture was a roaring success, spreading CURVE's distinct magic to, well, quite a few Americans.
Although not firmly established as a Superleague independent group with a consoldiated sound and image all their own, CURVE have plenty of time for experiments. Techno-boffin the Aphex Twin remixed "Falling Free" (from the Horror Head EP released only in the U.K.) for white-label dance floor release only. (He remixed CURVE right out of it actually, but it's the open-minded collaborative perestroika that counts, man)> CURVE have also produced two notable cover versions for charity albums: a Hammer reworking of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" for NME's '92 Ruby Trax LP, and Ian Dury's "What a Waste" (with Ian Dury on vocals) for the Peace Together album. This is not the work of po-faced goths. CURVE are a fully-rounded going concern, wracked with an insatiable desire to produce dark and troubling music or a personal nature; equally keen to drink booze and take the piss out of each other in a dressing room in San Diego.
The horror. CURVE have a reputation for being the torchbearers of gothic rock in the '90s. Their cool knack for the macabre and the menacing -- coupled with Toni's striking dusky image -- may be to blame. But why resist? ("I sincerely believe that there's a dark side to everyone on the planet...") That said, CURVE's new and second album CUCKOO moves the ghoulposts.
Kicking in with "Missing Link," which sounds like Sonic Youth and Ministry mending the road, this album picks up the established CURVE hallmarks and runs with them. Over the horizon.
Ears suitably blasted by the opener, CUCKOO then takes the listener to many new and rich areas of pop melodrama. CURVE's delicate moments have long been enjoyed by the converted ("Sandpit" from the first album, "Cherry," "Today is not the Day"), but tracks like the gorgeous, John Barry-like "Left of Mother" and the sublime "All of One" offer startling insight into the new improved CURVE machine. And also there, as maybe the stand-out track, is "Super Blaster," the first single from the album, encapsulating CURVE's simultaneously cool and incendiary sound. Produced by CURVE, Flood and Steve Osborne, and mixed again by Alan Moulder, CURVE's second album is a much more varied affair. Deeper. Wilder. Worrying. The thunder and lightning are still there; the scent of fear; but herein lies a braver CURVE. The lyrics are more personal -- but don't ask Toni to explain them to you! -- the vocals even more stark and naked. Dean's architecture has a built-in desire to unnerve: metallic, unforgiving, LOUD, clear. They can't wait to reassemble the band and tour this one. Oh no.
Breath. Fear. Relief. Storm. Night. Madness. Sex. Color. BANG. What's the use of pretending? For all their spiritual strength and ethereal oomph, CURVE are a competitive pop band in an increasingly impatient business. Survival is their game. CUCKOO should see them cracking new territories, both geographically and psychologically, cofirming themselves as the indie success story of the '90s. Going from strength to strength, and plowing very much their own path through the fickle fields of fashion, CURVE have managed to dispel shallow criticism, transfer what seemed like a studio-bound sound onto the stage, maintain a lavish, cosmetic image without cashing in their credibility chips, and retain the ability to screw and upset with a Top 30 single. No mean fait.
The dedication at the beginning of Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" goes: "To Vik Lovell, who told me dragons did not exist, then led me to their lair."
Always a great notion.
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