Curve | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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Toni Halliday is a dance-floor succubus, the Morticia Addams of England's recent crop of gossamer-voiced pop sirens. Seductive, haunting, and midnight-at-the-graveyard dark, her vocals convey terse accounts of romantic carnage (in "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus," she announces, "We won't be happy 'til we kill each other"). In these ominous tales love is founded on delusion and ends in devastation, a fate Halliday would rather avoid, thank you very much. "I wasn't born to be good enough for you," she rebukes her lover in "Unreadable Communication." "I am here to be nobody's fool." Halliday provides the spooky center of Curve's maelstrom, a turbulent collage of swirling beats and white-noise guitar assembled by her partner, Dean Garcia. Admittedly, Curve's music draws on two of the more dubious elements in contemporary pop--synthesized dance music and goth rock--and borrows liberally from the My Bloody Valentine playbook to boot. Halliday and Garcia put their material across with such forcefulness and command, though, that I check my misgivings and relish their dark pleasures. The dense layers of churning guitars and propulsive, synthesized rhythms on Doppelganger, the band's debut, catch your ear, even though the songs' uniformity quickly becomes monotonous; on the more varied Cuckoo, Curve's second full-length record, Garcia's reined in his instrumental assault to make more room for Halliday's voice, creating settings that range from an unsettling variation on Sade sensuousness ("Crystal") to what sounds like video-game cross fire (on "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus"). All the while the rhythms pound insistently, and Halliday's dusky croon beckons and beguiles. Saturday, 7:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.


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