Curlew — Fabulous Drop
(Cuneiform Rune 105, 1998, CD)
by Dan Casey, Published 1998-07-01
Raw, jazzy, abrasive, avant, noisy, and yet oddly smooth. That's Curlew rapped up in a nutshell. Led by the blaring sax musings of George Cartwright, Curlew forges on strongly with this new release and they make no apologies and take no prisoners. The entire album has a very familiar feel, if you follow Cuneiform at all. With a laid-back but intense almost-live sound, Curlew have a feel not unlike Boom or Boud Deun, but their musical vocabulary is all their own. Most of the songs like, "Argon" or "August," are structured around fairly easy-to-recognize themes and statements, but Curlew are always wanting to make it as edgy as possible via the use of wailing saxes and guitars. Strangely enough, the music never feels heavy, but it's always plenty noisy. While there might be better bands doing this kind of stuff, Curlew is nothing to scoff at. The musicianship is tight, the band hangs together very well. The music is true to itself and achieves everything the band intends it to. While plenty of listeners won't make it through the whole album in a sitting, my guess is that plenty others will, and find it to be a hip and snazzy thrill-ride of sorts. Brace yourself first.
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