Curve: 20th Anniversary Post Mortem – Why Aren’t They More Popular?

I still remembered the first time I listened to Curve‘s 1991 single The Colour Hurts:

Dean Garcia Toni HallidayA blend of shoegaze, dream pop, dance, and industrial rock, bands that time simply didn’t have. It remained one of the most sublime, achingly beautiful yet darkly disturbing songs I’ve ever heard in my life. I later got their debut album Doppelgänger, which came out literally 20 years ago as well, and was still blown away by the production and assertive vision they had. Truth be told, I felt it was one of the best albums of that year, if not one of the best in the 90’s, though of course others will disagree. Their later stuff may not have matched the genius of their earlier materials, but none of them were weak, and all were well above the indie batting average in terms of quality. More importantly, they were all excellent articulations of the particular genres they belonged to (i.e. Cuckoo for electro-rock, Come Clean for breakbeat, Gift for electro-pop), something very rarely encountered even among the best bands.

Yet one thing puzzled me as years passed by. That the pop music mainstream did not include them in their radio canon is logical and understandable (though many of their songs could fit that role more than splendidly). But the fact is this bands absence in all the indie year end lists, best of decade picks, and even list of honorable mentions, in both print and online mags large and small of the 90’s and 00’s, bothered me to no end. I’ve encountered no mention of them even among the diverse online music communities I’ve came across, something that really surprised me as I thought more than a few might have kept their memories.

In retrospect, 20 years after their debut album, what explains their almost bewildering lack of presence then and especially now, when numerous other bands even more obscure have larger devotees on the Internet? Were they too early for their time? Or were their materials too dense and esoteric to be comprehended? Perhaps their quality was suspect after all?

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One Response to Curve: 20th Anniversary Post Mortem – Why Aren’t They More Popular?

  1. Jen says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on Curve!
    I’ve been a big fan of Curve since the band’s start and have been pretty vocal in my admiration of Toni and Dean’s work, together and separately as Chatelaine and SPC ECO respectively.
    I wrote a Guide To the Recordings of Curve at Adequacy.net a while back: http://www.adequacy.net/2008/06/doas-guide-to-the-recordings-ofcurve/
    and I’ve interviewed Dean and his daughter Rose for SPC ECO. Haven’t been able to reach Toni though…yet.
    Search for Chatelaine and/or SPC ECO at Adequacy.net for more reviews/interviews and check out my Stratosphere Fanzine Yahoo Group for video stills of and more about Curve.

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