A debut album as beautifully dark as Nervous Curtains' Out of Sync With Time is probably the last thing you'd expect to come out of Dallas, Texas. But just as bands like Explosions in the Sky and Ghostland Observatory have managed to defy the mighty country tones of America's gruffest commonwealth, so now do the Curtains debunk any theory suggesting that the Lone Star State's music scene is defined solely by lap steel guitars and cowboy hats.
Defined by a unique blend of post-punk, cabaret, and goth rock, Out of Sync With Time collectively feels like something of a lucid dream. With all-but-non-existent guitars, the record relies heavily on the juxtaposed contrast of chromatic treble on the keys countered by imposing synthesizers in the bass. Toss in a healthy dose of drum rolls, dirty percussion and emotional vocals and the resulting sound is a tantalizing, albeit disturbing, hybrid of The Birthday Party and The Cure. Yet at no point do the Curtains ever lean too far in one direction, but instead they maintain a sound which is distinctly and entirely their own. And while the vocals occasionally get drowned out in their own reverb (with sporadic assists from the synths), the gist of the lyrics is plain enough: surrealism and paranoia amidst cryptic cultural commentary.
While every song on Out of Sync With Time is worth multiple listens, none highlight the band's dynamic riches quite as well as "Indebted to the Cause". Alternating between gloomy lamentation and a passionate, perhaps even angry upheaval, the track demonstrates not even so much the Curtains' ability, but their willingness to utilize various mixes within the framework of a single song. The same diversity exists on the other tracks, too, but more subtly, and not always with the same emotion.
Firing off such a well-rounded debut is no small task, especially in today's market of independent music. The Nervous Curtains, however, have managed to do just that. Musically well-endowed and tragically beautiful, Out of Sync With Time promises to bring the Curtains a smattering of well-earned attention not just on the expansive Texan frontier, but, more than likely, all the world over.-Josh Cacopardo
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MP3: "All Yesterday's Parties" (Out Of Sync With Time)
Nervous Curtains on Myspace