The Curtains – Vehicles of Travel (CD)

The Curtains are a band that I find extraordinarily difficult to properly tag, as their style of largely-instrumental music seems fit for an artsy movie. However, jazz-influenced tracks such as “Kites For Rookies”, even if they do maintain an instrument-heavy sound, use softly-spoken vocals to add a whole other dimension to the track. The tracks on “Vehicles of Travels” are all short, with only a few tracks breaking the two-plus minute mark. The quick attention spans of The Curtains ensure that their listeners will never tire of their continually-shifting sound. Tracks like “Ringmaster’s Reverie” really capture the sound of the circus, especially in the breakdowns before the longer lines of the synthesizer. Moving into the realm of Zappa for “Cops in Cologne”, The Curtains use chaotic guitars alongside sweeping synthesizers and a bassy voice to incorporate a larger fanbase. While each of the tracks has a feeling of disconnection at each new beginning, the disc has an overall feel that one is listening to one 35-minute long symphony.

Starting “Nite Crew” with a strong bass-sounding synth line, the track has a very Trans-like feel to it that only is strengthened by the Neil Young-type of guitars that accompany the rest of the track. In the follow-up track to “Nite Crew”, “Hooligans” has the band drop all intensity and premises of rock to make a very Spartan, very sedate type of pathway to the much more electric “City of Paris”. “City of Paris” has the distinct honor of having some of the most infectious rhythms found on the disc, especially considering that the synthesizer shuffles along and twinkles at the most opportune points of the track. The emotional crux of the disc happens during the climax of “The Gadabouts”, where the members of The Curtains have a collective fit and decide to create some of the hottest and hardest rock to be found.

The Curtains have created the perfect soundtrack album for a seventies film that never existed. With their “Vehicles of Travel”, the band has pulled a Marty McFly and have created an album that is incredibly versed in the whole period, and just places enough current influence to make the album reach out to all interested. The music may be minimalist and very far removed from the current ideas of popular music, but the simple fact is that “Vehicles of Travel” transcends the traditional limits of music in its bold move towards a completely new brand of music.

Top Tracks: Pagoda Defenders, City of Paris

Rating: 6.9/10

The Curtains – Vehicles of Travel / 2005 Frenetic Records / 23 Tracks / / / Reviewed 19 March 2005

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