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Album Review

Curve has had more of their share of ups and downs. Yet even when their career looked its bleakest, the band continued to make great music. When Estupendo/Universal told the band that their album Gift would be shelved, they continued to write and record. After posting several mp3s on their website, Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia had enough material to fill another album. As Gift was still tied up in legal battles with the major label, Curve independently released Open Day at the Hate Fest through their website. As the band enjoyed brisk sales of their self-release, they received word from Universal that Gift was put back on schedule and would be released on their Hip-O imprint. It's interesting to consider that Gift almost never saw the light of day. While it does fit in well with the band's efforts, it sounds different enough to reveal that the duo has fresh ideas and an ability to write great melodies without recycling old ones. As Come Clean kicked things off with "Chinese Burn," a gritty track featuring slick production, skittering beats, and a dirty, guitar-driven sound, "Hell Above Water" impressively introduces Gift with an edgy riff reminiscent of late-'90s Nine Inch Nails. Gift's title track follows and reveals one of the band's slickest choruses, perfectly combining their up-tempo instrumental intensity with Toni Halliday's sultry vocal work. Seemlessly flowing from menacing tracks like "Chainmail" and "Polaroid" to smoky, electronic-laden ballads like "Perish" and "Hung Up," Gift is classic Curve with modern arrangements and energy. While mixing elements of rock and electronica together is old news for Curve, their songwriting seems more natural on this outing. Perhaps due to their more personal nature, Gift's ten tracks are among Curve's best. While bringing together an all-star mix of producers and performers, including Alan Moulder, Flood, Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode, Recoil), and Ben Grosse (Filter), Halliday and Garcia showcase their unique knack for recording songs that feature an underlying darkness, even in their lighter moments. As Garbage and Sneaker Pimps have each scored commercial success with similar blends of female lead vocals, big beats, samples, and electric guitars, Curve shows that they are among the innovators of the form and prove themselves with one of their finest efforts.

Customer Reviews

Fabulous album from a truly underated band...

I'm not sure why Curve weren't bigger than they were. This album is a brilliant example of Curve's effortless ability to mix electronica & rock with Toni Halliday's smooth as silk vocals. It is perplexing to me how a less deserving band like Garbage manages to achieve commercial success whilst a superior band like Curve cannot. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this final Gift from a truly great U.K. band to anyone who enjoys richly textured and inventive alternative music.

One of the best CDs of the last 10 years...

Although I absolutely love Garbage, this is the CD that Shirley Manson and the guys WISHED they had made immediately after their Version 2.0. In my opinion, "Gift" is where Curve saw their career-spanning artistic vision fulfilled. And they nailed it. From the breakneck rhythm of the opener "Hell Above Water" to the unexpectly lush "Perish" to the simmering "My Tiled White Floor," this is a very satisfying and bittersweet commercial swan song for an unparalleled band.

Perfect Curve

From the blazing force of Hell Above The Water to the insidious threats of Chainmail and Bleeding Heart, "Gift" is one of Curve's most sonically and lyrically cohesive albums. It's poppier than their earlier work, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Featuring arresting vocals and melodies, the ten tracks on this album expand brilliantly on the groundwork laid in "Cuckoo" and "Come Clean." Treat yourself...


Formed: 1991 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Considering Curve's towering monolith of guitar noise, dance tracks, dark goth, and airy melodies, it's strange that their two core members -- guitarist Dean Garcia and vocalist Toni Halliday -- met through David Stewart of Eurythmics. Halliday met Stewart while she was a teenager and they remained friends for years; Garcia played on several Eurythmics records. The two played together in State of Play, who released one album and two singles in the late '80s to little notice. After the failure of...
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Gift, Curve
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