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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Live and Local: The Sound of Curves

Posted on Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 12:16 AM

The Sound of Curves

Thur, Sep 9

The Ten Eleven

1011 Ave. B

For a band that claims they never practice together, the Sound of Curves sure sound tight. And it's not the â??we've been in a band so long we can do this in our sleep' excuse for not practicing; they've only been around for 10 months or so. I don't know what their excuse is, actually, but I'm too lost in pop-rock la-la land to care.

The quartet includes Leonel Pompa, pulling triple duty on rhythm guitar, keys, and some Postal Service-inspired effects programming, Roger Maher on bass, Josh Leija on drums and Gill Martinez on lead guitar.

At first, Maher seems the front man for the group. He's there, center stage, making eyes at the ladies and declaring “We're ready for all this bullshit,” before playing. Pompa cues the electronic intro to “Shapes,” and we're off! Despite the soft electro beginning, “Shapes” quickly transitions to guitar-heavy rock, with Maher singing his most abstract, poetic lyrics.

Things go off the rails a bit on “Soft Spots.” Maher's vocals become a little overbearing, and the louder they get, the flatter the tone becomes. Fortunately, a looped keyboard line by Pompa keeps the song musically interesting and Maher pauses his singing to encourage a girl in the front row (who is sitting down, like most of the front three rows. Kids these days, they're so lazy) to take up the tambourine, which she does, timidly.

By the time the band begins their third song, “Breathe Light,” Maher's vocal overenthusiam is toned back down. In fact, Pompa shares singing duty on the song, and I realize that if anything, he and Maher are co-frontmen. “Breate Light” gets the group back into more pop territory, again utilizing a little electro glitch to accent the standout bass and drums.

The last two songs prove to be the Sound of Curves' best performances that evening. New track “Mother,” boasts a circus-like intro and Pompa and Maher utilize an awkwardly-placed stool onstage to engage in some affectionate rockstar posturing. You know how sometimes in hair metal groups, two members stand back-to-back and jam? That's what this was like, only instead of machismo it looked like the keyboardist and bassist were almost ... snuggling, with one of them on the stool and the other standing. That's what we need in music and life today, more man-on-man musical cuddling.

After the love fest, The Sound of Curves closed the set with the opener of their self-titled EP, released just last month. “Ode to Being Young,” encapsulates everything that works about this band, a jangly piano-pop line, dual harmonizing between Maher and Pompa, drum and guitar work by Leija and Martinez that keep the whole effort from sounding too twee. Plus, at 4:30, this song is a mini-epic with ample space for several shifts in tone.

So, yeah, how they do that without ever practicing, as Pompa claimed after the show, is beyond me. But it also makes me wonder ... how much better would they be if they actually put in some rehearsal time?

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