Why I Love: overrider on Curve

overrider are a new electronic collective coming out of Manchester. Shrouded in anonymity, the band released their debut mini album on 15th May. cyc|er features contributions from members of Cleft, Alpha Male Tea Party, and Giraffes? Giraffes!

Due to their anonymity, we can’t confirm who has written this, other than it’s from Overrider on one of their biggest influences; Curve.

Curve (band) - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

Everybody had a different route to more electronic stuff, but for me, Curve were the gateway from things like grunge and shoegaze. I already loved early Massive Attack and ambient synth music, Zero 7 and downtempo, but never made the connection with it as a guitarist. I discovered Mezzanine by Massive Attack at about the same time as Come Clean and Gift by Curve, and those records really changed my perspective on how you could use the guitar in a composition.

I’m not sure how I heard of them originally. I was the only person I really knew that was even aware they existed and that’s still often the case. Possibly I found them when digging back through the influences bands had listed on Wikipedia – I used to do that, then try and find CDs and whatnot on eBay. It was the tail end of Napster/Limewire, but kinda pre-BitTorrent so if stuff was out of print, you were often a bit stuck. Curve were niche enough that finding a record of theirs was a real prize.

What I do remember was hearing Come Clean for the first time, the combination of Coming Up Roses followed by Something Familiar could have been precision-engineered to get my attention. They’re the perfect mix of weird and pop, with way more going under the surface than is obvious at first – both in terms of sound design and lyrics.

Their lyrics are brilliant, they create an incredible atmosphere, as well as hitting pretty hard. The lyric that always jumps out in my mind is “I’m the tosser for thinking / it was any more than it was,” from Beyond Reach. It’s almost comical on paper, and it’s such a jarring, British insult, yet Toni Halliday’s delivery makes it anything but – it’s brutal and vulnerable and angry. She had this incredible, icy vocal, but when she did spoken word sections it was like a knife. Still gives me chills.

Thinking about it, there’s another great line from that song, “never pick a fight with someone bigger than you / that’s what I learned when I was at school.” There’s a kind of smart-kid underdog mentality to a lot of Toni’s lyrics that really resonated with me, I guess, as well as this sense of isolation and distance, like in the line “a mile is long when home is far away” from Coming Up Roses, or “a distant stare, I see myself there / deep in the black” from Something Familiar. Everything is quite dark, but very cathartic.

Many thanks to overrider for their words on Curve. Toni Halliday was the voice behind Leftfield’s classic, Original.

Check out the video for overrider’s ansible below. It’s taken from cyc|er, out now.

overrider: Bandcamp

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