One of the new songs veiled in Norse Code within the live set of South coast duo CURXES is entitled ‘Valkyrie’. In Nordic mythology, a valkyrie is one of the female figures who decide on which soldiers are killed in battle and which survive. And following their initial DEPECHE MODE being eaten by SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES template, one particular veteran that South Coast duo have been keen to kill off is the dreaded ‘80s’ tag hoisted on them by lazy journalists and bloggers. It seems no-one can hear a synthesizer and a programmed rhythm set without waxing lyrical about that abhorrent Thatcher dominated decade. Yes, many great artists came from that time but also, many more appalling atrocities and war crimes in the name of music.
Thus CURXES are a musical amulet worn to fight the evils of that decade. Continuing their development into a more aggressive post-punk stance while still retaining electronically sourced elements, Roberta Fidora and Macaulay Hopwood have coined the term ‘Blitz Pop’. Now, that’s not as in music for swinging New Romantics but night time bombing black-outs. The result is more Edith Piaf meets THE CURE coupled with mutant disco… basically how GANG OF FOUR would have sounded had they been influenced by Charles De Gaulle rather than Madam Mao. Now comfortable in their own sound which has mutated into a halfway house between post-punk and synthpop with Gothic overtones, their manifesto was put to the test earlier this year via their 1996 remix of ‘Recover’ for CHVRCHES and their wonderfully eerie song ‘Further Still’.
New single ‘Avant-Guarded’ takes CURXES on yet another developmental journey, taking in the accessibility of pop and adding a fierce attack to proceedings. The result is not unlike an aggressive CHVRCHES, especially when Macaulay Hopwood joins in on backing vocals to counterpoint Roberta Fidora’s ferocious lead. While this works marvellously in a cacophony of sound that is unlike what the Glaswegian trio have attempted on their debut ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’, The Electricity Club hopes though there will not be any blokey highjacking of the type which marred CHVRCHES’ album. Whatever, the surreal budgie fanciers promo video is superbly bonkers with hints of GOLDFRAPP’s visual presentation around the ‘Black Cherry’ era.
Meanwhile, CURXES themselves are getting closer to completing that long awaited first album. Let’s hope it’s soon because the UK music scene really needs acts like them…
CURXES ‘Avant-Guarded’ is available now via http://curxes.bandcamp.com/
Text by Chi Ming Lai
14th December 2013