Lately I’ve been inundated with music submissions to the site. Combing through them takes a ton of time, especially since I like to sit down with my undivided attention on each one. Over the past month, though, one album has caught my eye because of its authenticity and originality. Having been influenced by acts like Devin Townsend Project and Hum, Texas progressive/experimental rock band The Great Curve is so much more than the sum of its predecessors. Their latest EP “Something Grand Is Dying” is indeed grand, an unexpected and high quality performance from three talented musicians.
“Something Grand Is Dying” is a six song, 35+ minute album that flows more like a soundtrack. With plenty of moments of ambient, experimental, and even industrial aura, I really enjoyed the journey the album takes me. The experimental nature of this album comes across as sci-fi inspired, as if robots or aliens should be the pro/antagonists. I feel had The Great Curve been around during the height of progressive rock in the 70’s, that they would complement the style perfectly. Luckily, with the invention of newer instruments over the years, The Great Curve is able to utilize an interesting and modern sound while incorporating the classic progressive influences. The opening track “The Order of Mechanics” begins with chant-like voices and effect-driven verses, something I feel I could easily find in any Devin Townsend album. The keyboard presence is felt throughout the album to give it even more of a sci-fi feel, but is best represented in “The Doubter(s).” Almost exclusively focusing on the keyboards, the listener can close their eyes and feel the music taking them to faraway places. This song is also the perfect example in the use and effectiveness of vocals throughout the album. Although there are technically lead vocals in every song, they are used in a way that blend with the surrounding instruments, instead of shining in the spotlight. It feels very much like an instrumental album because of its role in manipulating emotion instead of actual speaking.
Now this isn’t always the case, especially in my personal favorite track “The Revolt.” The vocals are used not only in the forefront, but also to harmonize with its heavy keyboard presence. This track also provides the best drum performance on the record, a combination of intricate fills and double bass pedals. In fact, I would recommend listening to this album just for the drummer’s performance in “Something Grand Is Dying.” Something worth noting is the presence of orchestral instruments, which although are sporadically placed throughout the album, help to add a touch of sophistication in the album. “Something Grand Is Dying” closes with the airy, electronic “The Last Mass,” filled with a simple but effective drum lines and steady vocals. The swelling of phased guitars help to add to the electronic atmosphere, providing a rich flavor to the listener’s ears. By the album’s end, one cannot help but repeat this incredible album.
“Something Grand Is Dying” by The Great Curve is definitely not dying. For an album released nearly two years ago, I am impressed with the creativity and sound that feels ahead of its time. Should they get the exposure they deserve, I can foresee some great things with this band. For fans of bands like Devin Townsend, Russian Circles, and early progressive rock artists, I would definitely recommend you check out The Great Curve. Please support them by checking out their website, and by following them on Facebook for band updates. If you’re into the album, please check out their last album “An Overwhelming Vastness” available on Bandcamp with a “name your price” listing.