Certain areas of Texas are regularly plagued by large dust storms, reminders of the great Dust Bowls of the 1930s. Some of that sand is now spreading across the state borders towards the rest of the world as Texas-based outfit The Great Curve are kicking up some dust with their sophomore record “Something Grand is Dying”. The record is fairly short, consisting of six songs, and being a little over 30 minutes long, it proves to be a decent storm that at times rises to mighty proportions.
RELEASE DATE: 15 March 2014 LABEL: Self-released
“Something Grand is Dying” listens like the soundtrack to a movie, and even though the songs are not explicitly interrelated music- or lyric-wise, the album seems to convey a story. The songs are very classical-minded, with each track having a returning leitmotif. Upon further inquiry, Kevin (synthesizers, strings, vocals) explains: “[This record is] a review of how as humans we possess incredible creativity, but as time passes we tend to forget that most of our fundamental concepts are a byproduct of this mental storm and instead [we] “naturalize” these notions as if they were defined by scientific law.” “Something Grand is Dying” tells a story concerning the death of a system held in place by naturalised ideas as well as an escape from that system, giving rise to new hope and possibilities.
The instrumentation is very diverse, but still, the album feels like a unity to the listener. Stand outs are the double kick drums on “The Order of Mechanics” and the elegant piano parts, coming in on “The Captain”. Throughout the album there are stylistic references to ambient and eighties movie soundtracks/synthesiser music that add to the story-esque setting of “Something Grand is Dying”. The cinematic qualities revealed by “The Creation” and the “The Doubter(s)” form a perfect counterbalance to more uptempo songs like “The Order of Mechanics” and “The Revolt”. The latter two contain a myriad of layered screams, chants and shouted vocals that draw from the post-punk days of – again – the eighties.
In spite of all this instrumental proficiency and diversity in songwriting, this record is really hurt by production. It is very hard to exactly indicate what it is, but the music simply doesn’t leave the sonic impression that the grandeur of the music deserves. Even though that leaves the songs to be a little less memorable than they should be, “Something Grand is Dying” is still an album to be reckoned with. It is highly original in its songwriting and contains great instrumentation.
“Something Grand is Dying” sounds like a promise of something big. I don’t want to put it down as insufficient though. The story is one of a kind as is the music. The intricate embroidery of experimental rock with influences of metal, ambient and film music is enthralling and contains a sonic depth rarely seen in underground rock.