The UK’s own Reversed Curse uniquely blends the trap beats and tones of contemporary hip hop, with a notably heavier, emotional and gritty vocal style – effectively uniting elements of rock with the retro electronic layers more commonly found in alternative pop.
It’s an interesting sound, appealing for the raw passion and ache in the vocal tone, the hypnotic nature of each groove, and indeed these poetic, dark yet revealing lyrics that touch on an array of complexities rarely found in mainstream music. She’s Watching starts things up and is all of this.
As the playlist progresses, this sound and style quickly settles in as Reversed Curse. While a variety of moods and tempos come through, with just as many spoken word or rapped segments as sung, the overall approach becomes easily recognisable early on. The emotive vulnerabilities at the forefront were once reserved for rock music, but these days the bedroom producer status has allowed genre labels to become less important, and this album speaks volumes on behalf of that.
From the delicate, melodic whispering of No Love, through the sudden rhythm, rap and detail of Beautifully Hideous – a defiant highlight – the project slowly but surely weaves this creative and deeply human experience around listeners. The latter track in particular is beautiful, powerful and memorable – the recognisable riff in the soundscape, the vocal tone, the intensity, the contrast between these heavy lyrics, the intimate, revealing story-telling, and the dreamlike lightness of the music. A personal favorite, that inherent contrast reflects brilliantly the contrast showcased in the title.
From the complexities of love to contemplation of life itself, this album underlines the meandering existence of a soulful, expressive artist. It hypnotizes with softly entrancing instrumentals, and connects on a deeper level for Reversed Curse’s notably genuine, clean-cut and consistently interesting performances.
Contrast is a definitive theme throughout. From Demon to Angel, the mood and the story work against each other – opposing forces united by RC’s desire to make sense of chaos. A scene-setter through and through, the imagery and detail utilized lyrically help really paint some captivating pictures, and the wholesome sound-design furthers this engaging aspect to a bold degree. The guitar work on Lies in particular helps build a shoe-gaze meets grunge kind of aura, tipping its hat to the late Lil Peep, but throwing in a little more grit and a free-style, stream of consciousness verse.
Reversed Curse makes no attempt to hide his truth, it pours through in endless waves on this project, creating the musical escapism required to feel calm, and the lyrical, authentic depth of a soulful performance to help really speak to those who are struggling. Kiss Her Again is a fine example, intense verses resolve with a simple hook that again unites beautifully with this tranquil guitar riff.
During the latter half of this fifteen-track album, further hints of eclecticism and influence emerge, from flickers of RnB to tripped up production qualities, from weight to softness – Sixteen, Lost Soul, Tokyo – these songs feel like an insomniac’s dream; those late-night go-to’s that soothe and quietly call out on your behalf.
Who Are You? recaptures any wandering attention briefly, questioning the very role of the self, provoking deeper thought once again. Then Famous lightens the load with a topically relevant reflection on the sweeping international desire to be known by everyone; to have everything fall in your lap. A conceptual highlight perhaps, for its instrumental and contemporary significance alike.
So What follows as a self-conscious declaration of everything the artist is and is not. Then Find You takes things down another romantic and longing pathway, with plenty of instrumental space, less vocal density – allowing for deeper calm and thought along the way.
To finish things up, Forever sweeps through like a dreamy, distant embrace, combining gentle guitar work, long-form melodies and a whispered, tired vocal that echoes through your head-space. A beautiful way to go out, another instrumental highlight with some cleverly subtle vocal work to compliment it.
This album is a fine effort for any young indie artist, and with this level of character and intention, things will only get all the more impactful over time. Worth a listen this lock-down.