Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Sound of Curves - Gone Gatsby

The Sound of Curves - Gone Gatsby 

The third album from The Sound of Curves, Gone Gatsby, is the most comprehensive release yet from the San Antonio four piece. Led by vocalists Leonel Pompa and Roger Mahrer, the band specializes in the sort of alternative rock popularized by bands like Minus the Bear and Kings of Leon while filling their music with vivid personality that helps it escape any hints of imitation. They have brought in keyboards and synthesizers into their template in an effort to separate themselves from the pack and the effort is largely successful; some of the most memorable moments on Gone Gatsby are the result of this stew of electric guitars and electronica touches. Melody is, equally, an important factor in what these young musicians are aiming to accomplish and there are a few songs on Gone Gatsby that absolutely sparkle thanks to their facility for creating catchy tunes.  

The high gloss production really makes a number of these tracks fly and frames the band’s strengths in the best possible light. “Galaxy” takes some unusual turns at the outset, but soon settles into a track of enormous guitars, tone setting rhythm section playing, and Pompa and Mahrer’s well matched voices. The album’s sole anthem, the title cut, never plays down to its potential by simply hitting on a few standard clichés and the chorus, in particular, sets it flying even higher into the stratosphere. Another song with a great chorus, “Summer Radio”, zips past listeners with all of the exuberance of its title and the feeling of celebration and liberation pouring out of its big chords and thunderous drumming will physically engage listeners rather than keep them at arm’s length. This band is all about communication – they clearly identify with their audience and hope for the same in return on songs like this.  

Some tracks have a much more personal edge. “Josephine” is one of the album’s more sensitive numbers and the band provides the song with a nuanced arrangement and performance alike. The vocals, especially, seem to spend more time than usual attempting to nail just the right phrasing needed to bring this song to life and do an excellent job. The hard charging surge of “Crawl” gets a great start from the drumming of Josh Leija and the guitars follow his lead with a performance just restrained enough to hold the song’s form while still rocking out with enjoyable abandon. “London” undergoes a quick transformation from a bluesy influenced rocker into an unusual alt rock gem with buoyancy that many of the other tracks don’t possess to such a degree. Synthesizer lines swirl bob up from the mix around the vocal at the beginning of “Midnight” and the band’s continuing efforts to fill their alt rock canvas with unusual colors reaches a solid peak with this song. The beautifully stormy chorus of “Blinker” is another high point on an album that’s full of great choruses, but the guitars in general on this song make this something special. This album is something special, even with a few near misses tossed in, and shows The Sound of Curves to be a band willing to evolve and take chances with each new release. 

9 out of 10 stars 

Dale Butcher

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