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(Older reviews archived alphabetically by artist name.)

  You Brought Us Here  
  Bethany Curve  
  Unit Circle Rekkids  
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Bethany Curve are from Santa Cruz, California. That makes me think of frentically paced guitars played by spikey haired tan boys. And indeed, Bethany Curve are a guitar based band. And indeed, in the photos on their website at least one member is a spikey haired boy.

But they ain't no Green Day clone.

Bethany Curve instead remind me more of the music that came out of the British Isles in the late 80's and early 90's. It's slow music with meandering washes of guitar sound. And there is a certain coldness to it. Not the coldness of music from a snow-covered clime, but the coldness of people who live most of their lives inside air-conditioned buildings. The coldness of the South (and, presumably, Southern California) in the summer, when it's 105º F outside, but 75º F inside. You go inside, covered in sweat, and need to put on a long sleeved shirt for a few minutes while your body adjusts to the temperature change.... That's what this music makes me think of.

Of course, i am a southerner who considers our summers oppressive. It's like winter for people who live in the frozen states: you have to psyche yourself up to leave the building, because it's going to be freaking miserable out there! Naturally, i spend the bulk of my summers inside, only to go out for brief spurts of intense sweating. It's a reflective time for me: sitting inside with the blinds half open, the powerful sun beating down on me, the air-conditioner straining, and no one around but my cats, who lie panting.

Bethany Curve's music reminds me of all of that: the pleasant isolation of the air-conditioned world, while terror (in the form of heat, or whatever bothers you) lies just outside the door. It's music that describes a comfortable space, but hints that there is something worse just waiting....

It's really nice music to just sit and listen to -- just wandering guitar textures and vague vocals. The vocals are interesting: vaguely gothy (in that they remind me of early Modern English), vaguely sleepy (slow paced), and vaguely blurry (buried under the guitar textures).

This is their fourth album, and it is the second Bethany Curve album that i have obtained. Their previous album, Gold was much like this album. Oh sure, there are slight differences, but for the most part Bethany Curve have their style nailed down, and they continue to explore that territory.

There are a few standout tracks on this disc. Summer Left Me features acoustic guitar over sparse and slower than usual vocals in a way that reminds me of Rainbird by Love And Rockets. It's a nice effect, and is a pleasant break from the otherwise constant electric guitar drones that make up the rest of their work. As to the electric guitar parts, i especially like I'm Tired Gone, which pairs the washed out guitar textures with nice insistent drumming, and Ann Illusion , which sounds almost as if there are horns droning in the background.

Those are both pleasant songs, and this is a good album in the distinctive Bethany Curve style. However, well, if you are just getting into Bethany Curve i would recommend Gold first. You see, their best song, hands down, is called Pool And The Shine and is on that disc. It's the height of their mastery of intertwining guitar tones, and is qutie stunning. Nothing on You Brought Us Here equals the majesty of that song. So start there.

However, if you have listened to Bethany Curve and find their music enjoyable, then you will consider this album a wonderful addition to their catalog.

Related Links:

Gold, Bethany Curve's previous full-length release.


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