San Antonio based four piece Sound of Curves’ third album, Gone Gatsby, should solidify their standing as one of the vanguard bands working in alternative rock today. The melting pot of influences, however, encompasses much more than recasting rock music’s premier form of the 1990’s and beyond in their image. Southern styled rock guitar with added ingredients like keyboards and synthesizers, never used injudiciously, give the unit a distinctive sonic identity and it’s topped off with lyrics with a slightly literary touch on their best songs set them apart from the pack. This fourteen song collection is a monumental effort for the band illustrating how exponentially their songwriting powers have blossomed since their 2009 formation. The album’s production gives the tracks an added physicality pushing this over the edge from being merely first rate modern rock into something far richer and more difficult to pin down with a single label.
The light stepping, staccato guitar work laced into “Galaxy”, the album’s opener, perfectly suits its uptempo pace. The vocals are quite strong and rely on some low-key harmonies tailored for the track. The title track has a hard hitting rock edge the first song lacks contrasting nicely with the strong vocal harmonies. The recurring guitar rave ups between the verses have a quasi-revolving, slightly hypnotic effect, but the mix places such a primacy on these moments they have a wont for overwhelming the vocals. This is a certain crowd pleaser, however, based on the lyrical content and boisterous arrangement alone. “Summer Radio” combines a much more outright pop approach with busy drumming and, at key points, a slightly jagged dissonant edge imbuing the song with more attitude than it might otherwise possess. The song “Disco” finds them once again effectively using light and shade dynamics with a bright production sheen lain over the top of it all. The guitars on Gone Gatsby, when they step to the fore, brawl was passionate intensity that nonetheless hangs together throughout the performance. Nothing The Sound of Curves turns their attention too sounds overly plotted out, but it certainly isn’t mindless thrashing.
“Crawl” opens with some muscular, straight ahead drumming and soon erupts with some of the album’s most memorable guitar work. The rhythm section keeps this one light on its feet, but The Sound of Curves continue to show little appetite for following the straight lines other bands make their stock in trade. Instead, “Crawl” is peppered with the same assortment of small surprises characterizing the band’s other material. They take a turn into outright electronica influenced rock with the track “Midnight” and pull it off magnificently. The album finale “Whiskey Wrongs” throws out some of the aforementioned Southern rock guitar/blues influences and the band’s shows off their artistic dexterity being able to carry it off as well they do. On initial hearing, this sort of track might sound out of sorts in comparison to others, like “Midnight”, for example. It isn’t the case. “Whiskey Wrongs” closes Gone Gatsby on a raucous note and is a good fit for the preceding tracks. The Sound of Curves are continuing their steady climb towards a bigger and bigger spotlight with each release and Gone Gatsby is the most successful effort yet.
9 out of 10 stars