Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Curtains--Calamity (2006)

Artist-The Curtains
Release Date-Oct 24, 2006
Label-Asthmatic Kitty
Genre/Style-Experimental Post-Rock/ Experimental

Review-There are some avant-gardists who could care less about pleasing audiences; in fact, they take great pride in giving audiences the middle finger and saying, "Get lost if you don't like it." But others want to share; even at his most extreme and ferociously atonal in 1966 and 1967, John Coltrane wanted listeners to understand where he was coming from (which didn't necessarily stop some of his most ardent admirers from walking out the door during that period). And in math rock — much like avant-garde jazz — one encounters the middle finger types as well as folks who want listeners to understand even when some of those listeners might be saying, "I really don't get this." Calamity points to the fact that the Curtains fall into the second category; this is eccentric, quirky, angular, bizarre music that doesn't go out of its way to be accessible but isn't hostile or anti-social either. Drawing on a variety of influences ('60s psychedelic pop/rock, punk, prog rock), the Curtains are artsy and self-indulgent but never in an elitist, overbearing, hipper-than-thou way. It's almost as if they are saying, "Yes, we know we're strange and abstract, but we aren't trying to be pretentious or frighten you away. We want you to come along for the ride and enjoy sharing our strangeness with us." This spacey, oddly melodic effort has an ambiance that is childlike but not childish; Calamity brings to mind not an annoying brat who needs a good dose of corporal punishment, but a likable, inquisitive, intelligent child such as the Luna character in the Spanish film Sex and Lucía (Lucía y el Sexo). Calamity is slightly inconsistent and could be described as a hit-or-miss affair, but the hits outnumber the misses and make this 2006 recording a generally memorable contribution to math rock and alternative pop/rock.


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