Album Review: Cursed Arrows - Death Rattle Blues

Our second review this week, is brought to you by yet another band who are playing at the Long Live The Queen Fundraiser this Friday at Gus' Pub - Cursed Arrows. Check it out...

Review by Pinky

I’m OK with the fact that Cursed Arrows wear their influences on their sleeves.
It doesn’t matter that you can tell that the guitars of this Guelph, Ontario duo are
reminiscent of the crunchy, thick sound of Seattle grunge. Cursed Arrows’ guitars
are crunchier and louder, they pull off the same kind of powerful sound with only
one guitar, one set of drums and two voices.

The songs on this Cassette single for Death Rattle Blues are a nice blend of
everything Cursed Arrows can do. Above all else, Ryan Stanley writes some sweet
vocal melodies, and Cursed Arrows songs are usually short blasts of vocal brilliance
swirled with enough noise and guitar crunch that you’ve got to dig a little to find the
heart, but it’s beating a mile a minute when you do.

The single itself starts off like some sort of early-Clutch-esque hard driven blues
song, but quickly explodes into a trashy, garage rock jam with the drums keeping up
with Stanley’s sporadic, quirky guitar parts. The dual vocals blend perfectly and sit
just right within the frame of the song. They’ve picked a great song to preview the
upcoming full length, but don’t think that the fun is over and the rest of this release
is just some odds and ends material tacked on to the single.

The next track, a cover of Beck’s Pay No Mind, is a dark, heavy interpretation of the
best song from Mellow Gold. Where Beck’s version has a down-tuned folk sort of
feel, Cursed Arrows turn it into a mountain of heavy drums and dirty guitars. The
tempo remains the same, but the volume is cranked.

The first acoustic track, Carefree Chemicals could have been written by Black
Mountain. It’s galloping guitars remain up front while the roomy vocals sail around
like a 60s psych record. It’s scaled back on the volume but the core is still there, and
it’s got a real mature feel about it.

The fourth track, Rid of Me, puts drummer Jackie Stanley up front on the vocals, and
her voice carries as much weight as her husband’s does. It’s a full band version of PJ
Harvey’s signature guitar chug-along, and it carries it’s own kind of weight.

The last song sort of falls short of the great songwriting Cursed Arrows can pull
off, but it’s hauntingly drenched in reverb and echo so you hardly even notice.
It’s a fitting end to a short summation of the stuff Cursed Arrows are going to be
producing as they settle into their new lives in Halifax, NS. It’s nice to have a great
band move INTO the city for a change.


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