Curtains For You – [Album]

Saturday, 26 December 2009

One of the best, most fantastic things that can happen in music is when an ambitious idea goes awry. Take Curtains For You for example – in listening to the band's debut, What A Lovely Surprise To Wake Up Here, it's pretty plain to hear that the band is composing to draw comparisons to either The Beatles or Beach Boys or a combination of the two with their densely layered and lush harmonies and classic pop structures, but the end results don't quite line up with those hopes. The band is a little too new-sounding and sarcastic to really sound similar to classic pop  but the beauty of the album is that the band's eager aspirations do yield something even better – if not exactly what the band had envisioned.

What listeners get from the opening of “The Nuclear Age” is a vibrant listening experience that's a couple of generations beyond the mark that the band set for itself. Rather than The Beatles and Beach Boys, as the relentlessly sunny strains of songs like “Dumb Angel,” “Road Trip To Disaster” and “Dead World” breeze through, listeners will get a sense that there's a core of Sloan, Simian (the Brit-pop precursor to Simian Mobile Disco) and Ben Folds (as he was during his Songs For Silverman) at work; those bands also took inspiration from Beatles and Beach Boys records, but also twisted them to suit their own ends and now Curtains For You twist them still further. In this case, the vocals are still the focal point of the proceedings and draw the most attention but they're also elevated to a different, more abstract plain courtesy of Mike Gervais' lonesome and sad slide guitar and Peter Fedofsky's quasi-classic piano flourishes. The results play like a theatrical presentation of a classic pop band that, when one listens, is actually very mean spirited but, because the vocal melodies and harmonies are so pretty and anti-pop provocative, the punch of lines like, “How long will it last before we finally crash?/We're fools dispensing stupid clues and bits of balderdash" (from “Clanging Of The Masses”) gets softened up enough that you'll want to sing along no matter how self-deprecating it is. That's the barb that Curtains For You hook listeners with: What A Lovely Surprise… plays out the fluffy and innately meaningless musical style found before in hundreds (if not thousands) of showtunes and pop albums but removes the virtue from the formula required for such an endeavor and inserts a kind of smart-assed and petulant grumbling that one is able to find on any great, classic punk album instead. It's fuel for a toxic and misanthropic mind, but as infectious as it is noxious.



What A Lovely Surprise To Wake Up Here
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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