Thursday, 8 January 2015

Oliver: Curve - Clipped (17 November 1991)

"They seem to have been coming in for a certain amount of stick recently, I'm not sure why.", Peel remarked after playing this on 17/11/91.  A throwaway remark but one which spoke of the divide that was staring to rear its head in the music media as the onset of grunge began to register bands associated with shoegaze as passé and unfashionable.  By the time, I started taking a casual look at the music papers in 1994/95, grunge was getting a restrained backlash as Britpop took hold, but shoegaze hadn't been "re-assessed" and the bands of that time were either winding down or disbanding to go on and re-invent themselves in new forms while their names were held up as objects of derision.  Had I been a fan of a group like Curve at the time (who carried on until 2005) I would have been very miffed about this given they had produced songs like Clipped, which showcased exactly why shoegaze deserved better than it got.

Out of the ethereal radio static, we are launched into a thunderously exciting song mixing propulsive beats with heavily riffed and distorted guitar line.  The brief bridge provides a wonderfully ecstatic moment.  And over it all, Toni Halliday, drawls her way like a sky goddess over the thrashing cocophany underneath her.

I seem to remember that one of the criticisms of music made by the likes of Curve was "They let the (guitar) pedals do all the work for them!" which ignores the fact that the tools only work brilliantly when the mind operating them is inspired too.

Video courtesy of Felice Scala.

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