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Arriving Too Early Then Too Late

Come Clean

I think that Curve has kind of a unique distinction of coming just a little bit ahead of their time, as well as just a little bit behind the times. Back in the early 1990's, they were pumping out their steamy concoction of rock/pop music with a touch of industrial and sultry female vocals. They gained a fairly devoted fan base over the course of 2 full-length albums, as well as numerous singles (that were then released on another full-length disc). Then, all of a sudden they just sort of disappeared.

I know that probably nearly every other review of Curve you read also mentions Garbage, but after hearing the two sounds side by side, it really is interesting to hear the similarities. Sure, Garbage is a tad bit more to the radio-friendly side of things, but Curve wrote some damn catchy tunes back in the day that somehow slipped through the mainsteam fascination. That's not even mentioning the fact that Toni Halliday is even more sexy than Shirley Manson. In the past 3 years, though, Garbage released two albums and captured a huge chunk of sales in both alternative radio (with their more aggressive tunes) and mainstream (with their lighter fare). It didn't hurt that they also had a dream-team lineup of sorts.

Then, in late 1997, Curve resurfaced again shortly on a three-song EP and there were rumours that they would be back again with a new album soon. 1998 brought on Come Clean, but by the time it had been released, either the formula had already been played one too many times or they simply released the wrong songs as singles. Personally, I've listened to both early Curve, as well as their newest release now.

Basically, if you've heard their older stuff and enjoyed it, you're probably not going to go wrong with Come Clean. Over the course of 13 new tracks, they tread some familiar ground, as well as tapping into some new areas of sound. Things are a little harder overall around the edges (which may not appeal to the fans of their more melodic older work) and the electronic element has been cranked up quite a bit as well.

The disc starts out with the blistering, "Chinese Burn" with huge beats, a tweaked-out acid line and snarling guitars. Things sound like Cuckoo-era Curve on the third track entitled, "Something Familiar." It's a nice break in the sonic action before the very loud and noisy, "Dogbone" and it's funky slowed-down breakbeat. Probably the best track on the disc is the fifth track entitled "Alligators Getting Up." With a funky beat and seductive vocals by Halliday, it combines all the best elements of the group into a track that would rival the best of Garbage.

As mentioned above, the disc isn't mindblowing, but it is very solidly produced and is a great release for the group that's been absent for quite some time. If you like Garbage (this is the last time I'll reference the other group, I swear), but wished they pushed the edges of their sound a bit more towards something a little less pop-friendly, Come Clean will probably be right up your alley. I say, welcome back.

Rating : 7