The Curtains: Calamity


Sans band and label, Deerhoof member Chris Cohen squeezed in the recording and engineering of his self-produced (and mostly self-played) album during one of his brief breaks from touring.  The resulting Calamity works as an eccentric hodge-podge of quirky pop songs, avant-garde sounds, and out-of-nowhere, straight forward, shed rock.  Shedding comes to mind due to its unpolished, lo-fi rehearsal nature, which creates a coarseness from combining forces together haphazardly.  It should come as no surprise The Curtains try to thumb nose at genres by deliberately playing outside any distinct realms, not unlike the mother-band Deerhoof.  But borderless classification seems to be the direction of the era, however, and is probably better achieved when not being sought directly. 

The above being said, Calamity is not totally without merit.  Nedelle Torrisi, a new full-time member, contributes her vocal and guitar harmonies while horn player John Ringhofer (Sufjan Stevens) adds his trombone skills to the mix, notably in “The Thousandth Face.”  The extra depth and dimension goes a long way.  Early Velvet Underground-esque hues (that is, folk and punk proper) start the record off with the pleasant “Go Lucky” and “Green Water” utilizing short and simple lyrics; before the album melds into the literally bubbly “Wysteria” as Cohen and Torrisi sing while gargling.  The rest of the album follows an eclectic formula resulting in happy pop ballads and annoying dissonance, both done in a minimal, innocent and child-like way.

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