Sunday, 16 October 2016
Oliver: Curve - Horror Head (22 February 1992)
Geoff Travis, head of Rough Trade Records, once described Peel as "unpluggable". There was no point in hustling him to play records by this band or that band - he would play what he wanted to play. Peel admitted that this sometimes worked against him as major labels would decide against sending him records meaning he had to buy them together with the rest of us Joe Shmoes.
Nevertheless the perception that what went out on his show was his decision alone gave his verdict a greater degree of authenticity than other disc jockeys.
Another reason why record companies were wary of trying to pressure Peel to play their artists was his tendency to ride a coach and horses through their carefully laid plans. Whether it was playing the whole of Bob Dylan's 1975 album, Desire, the day before it was due to be exclusively played by Capital Radio, or abandoning his support of The White Stripes when their record company tried to tell him that he couldn't play tracks from their 2003 album, Elephant until they told him that he could, Peel was no respecter of record company diktats.
Before playing this track from Curve's debut album, Peel ensured that the PR department at Anxious Records would have their heads in their hands when after reading out a press release which stated that the Doppelgänger album would prove that not all Curve songs sounded the same, he stated that he wasn't entirely persuaded of this after listening to the record. It's true that Horror Head is of a piece with a number of the other Curve songs on this blog, but it may be the best of its type, building as it does out of Toni Halliday's sweet opening vocalisations before bursting forward in an explosion of guitar pyrotechnics. There would be plenty of opportunity to judge the degrees of similarity in Curve's album over the next couple of shows as Peel had tracks from it and a session from them booked in before the end of the month. For myself, I'm just left wondering whether, when it came to naming their album, if anyone from Curve was a fan of Kid Creole and the Coconuts.
Video courtesy of Felix Stairs.