Bethany Curve: You Brought Us Here

The highlighted letters in the track listing pick out the words ‘LOVE MISSED’. The album’s title, meanwhile, carries hints of hurt and recrimination. Thus Bethany Curve set out the emotional agenda that is explored at length on this fourth album from the California three-piece. Bethany Curve walk down paths already well trodden by the likes of Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and Flying Saucer Attack: dreamy, languid vocals drifting over great swathes of feedback-drenched guitar and reverb-heavy percussion. Yet while it would be tempting to label You Brought Us Here as a lame work of copyism, something prevents me from doing so. The album transcends its lineage by virtue of its determination to conjure and sustain a mood of extreme, willed melancholy. There is little in the way of textural variation over the course of the album’s nine tracks and 55 minutes. On only one track, the pastoral ‘Summer Left Me’, does a gently strummed acoustic guitar break through the lowering clouds of electricity, coming as an intense relief before it characteristically makes way for waves of short, abstract drones. In short, as an evocation of lost or thwarted love, this is a remarkable collection. Bethany Curve are without bitterness or rancour; instead the music communicates, through its funereal pace, washed-out vocals and woozy instrumentation, intense regret and wintry resignation.

(Originally published in The Sound Projector 10, 2002)

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