Since first coming together in 2009, The Sound of Curves carved out a reputation as one of the most promising alternative rock bands to emerge in quite some time. Their third release Gone Gatsby represents the fulfillment of that promise. Their unique confluence of alternative and Southern rock with electronic touches is further enhanced by an intelligent songwriting approach to make the band’s distinctive sound. It’s every bit as distinctive as their self-professed influences like Kings of Leon and The Black Keys. Each of Gone Gatsby’s fourteen songs have strong qualities and, even if there’s a valid criticism to be made the album suffers from some bloat, the overall expansiveness of vision is a refreshing development in a scene too often content with formulaic and ambitionless outings. The Sound of Curves have released an important third album certain to further elevate them in the minds of critics and the music buying public.
The title track is the first truly monumental moment on Gone Gatsby. The band has really struck upon something here with an anthemic track that, fortunately, does outright remind listeners of half a dozen similar songs from other artists. Much of the credit for this lies with the band’s penchant for weaving meaningful vocal harmonies into their guitar-oriented attack in such a way that one enriches the other. “Josephine” has one of the album’s strongest guitar-based melodies – something that undoubtedly sounds vaguely reminiscent of something you’ve heard before, but containing enough signature style to mark out the band’s own territory. The vocals are quite complementary and underplay themselves with the same gracefulness. “Josephine” never loses this quality, even after the full band enters, and the instrumental break finds the band coming to a complete stop before kicking off the song’s final half. The song “Crawl” begins with a steady, hard-hitting push from the drums before a tense and muscular guitar riff emerges. It has a definite hook, but if “Crawl” is a song concerned with commerciality, it’s strictly on the band’s terms alone. The quasi-shuffle propelling “London” coupled with the bright guitar work gives the song a lively, upbeat step similar, yet quite different, from the surrounding material. This is much more of an outright piece of guitar-driven pop, but the band never sacrifices their credibility to pull it off.
“Waves” is one of the album’s darker tracks, in some respects, and certainly one of its more unified compositions. The song starts off stripped back with the guitars attacking with a percussive, tightly wound simmer before they shift into a higher gear. They summon a much more idiosyncratic spirit on the song “Midnight”, but all their recognizable elements remain in place and it ranks as one of the album’s best songs during its second half. The vocal harmonies, once again, help define “Blinker” in part, but it’s the combination of modern guitars with a distinctive retro approach in some passages that defines the musical arrangement. As mentioned in the introduction, the sheer size of Gone Gatsby will turn some listeners away. There’s a few songs on the album that, despite their inherent quality, sound too much like other tracks, but overall, The Sound of Curves has made a bold advance with this album that lays the groundwork for future releases.
by Lydia Hillenburg