I am so pleased to be telling you that there is a new record available from The Curtain Society. I fell in love with this band many years ago, and after an EP and an amazing full length album, the band seemed to disappear. Their early works were full-on dark shoegazer brilliance; wall of sound guitars and crisp drumming that perfectly underpinned the vocals, which – amazingly – were not buried in the sonic haze. The band wrote good songs, and just happened to play them in all their noisy fury… exactly the way that bands like Ride did so long ago.
On the new release, Every Corner Of The Room, The Curtain Society boys have progressed to a more open pop sound, but have maintained the sonic edge that set them apart from so many of their contemporaries eight or so years ago. Duncan Arsenault‘s drumming is still as splendid as ever, not only moving the songs forward at each beat, but managing to sound fresh and vibrant on every song. Ron Mominee lays down solid bass grooves that help to accomplish the solid foundation on which all of these songs are built, while Roger Lavallee plays all the tricks with his guitar that recall the glory days of early ‘gazer rock. The perfect example is “Two Wonderful Stars”, with its amazingly sonic guitars and captivating loops all afloat upon a bed of rocksteady rhythm, and some of the finest use of the ride cymbal I’ve heard in ages. This is the kind of song that Swervedriver was turning out in their heyday, only a bit cleaner around the edges.
On tracks like “Chemical”, the band develops a tight groove and offsets the rhythm with interesting keyboard bits and tremeloed guitars that build tension, while the vocal production keeps the ear focused, waiting for that next important bit of information. A completely different sound comes out on “Diver”, a beautiful acoustic track that finds Lavallee’s vocals sounding much more like the old days, hitting falsetto notes effortlessly and carrying the emotion of the words to their full. The title track has a bit of a jangle-pop sound, with cleaner guitars scrubbing away underneath a more open sound that breathes a bit more relaxedly than much of the record. Getting a bit trashy near the end of the record the band pulls out all stops on the excellently produced rock track “Motorcycle Baby”. This song sits somewhere between middle era Love And Rockets and early Sparklehorse, but with a decidedly keyboard-heavy groove that moves the song along nicely. The final track, “Anchor”, could be lifted from any number of Brian Wilson productions, as the melody lines are light and airy, while the sound is definitely that of a shoegaze band gone a bit more acoustic and opening up the spectrum of sounds at their disposal.
This record breaks enough musical ground to be accessible to all but the most fickle of musical tastes, but the focus of the songs remains a somewhat slowed sonic hullabaloo that would really appeal to fans of Ride, Slowdive, The Autumns, Starflyer 59, Swervedriver, and the like. If you’re new to The Curtain Society, then here’s your plan of action: Hunt down your own copies of the band’s earlier releases, 1995’s Inertia and 1996’s Life Is Long, Still. Then you can make an able comparison on your own and begin to realize exactly the type of talent that has lain hidden from so many for so long. But know that you’ve read this review, you have no reason to not find this new record, at the very least, and get a glimpse of what is still possible outside the sphere of top 40 rock.