Review Summary: Attack in Black show a different side with impressive set of acoustic songs
Having opened for bands like The Weakerthans, Built to Spill and the Constantines, Attack in Black have been making a name for themselves for a few years now and are only bound to get more recognition with time. The Curve of the Earth was not originally intended to be Attack in Black’s second album but ended up so after a member found an old two-input tape recorder and on a whim the band tried recording a few songs with it. Two days later they had a set of songs down and the rest of the album making process followed impulsively. It was released on vinyl and for digital download just four months after their superb debut Marriage. But while Marriage was a mixture of punk energy and catchy rock n roll with a touch of folk, Curve of the Earth is a dozen acoustic songs emphasizing the bands strong folk influence which was more subtle on their earlier material, showing a different side of the promising young band. Even though the two records contrast in tempo and style, both share the same attractive qualities in the exceptional song writing and passionate vocals of Daniel Romano that make Attack in Black a great band.
Although Curve of the Earth was quickly put together in two days and nights in guitarist Spencer Burton’s sunroom, listening to these songs I wouldn’t be able to tell as none of them seem rushed or like ideas were being recycled even though they are fairly straightforward. Attack in Black keep things interesting by rotating vocal and instrumental duties in some songs adding some needed diversity. Due to the nature of the recording, the songs have a less polished, more natural feel to them giving the album a sense of authenticity which is one of the albums most appealing aspects.
The opening cleanly picked chords of I’m Going to Forget
serves as a perfect introduction to the album and overall mood it sets. A gentle, easy-going song that picks up gradually with the chorus is one of the more accessible and certainly finest songs the band as written. More upbeat songs like Ever Faster
and Morning Bird/Water Line
give off a joyful and comforting feel that could cheer anyone up. Attack in Black have an ability to make catchy melodies seem effortless and on the more lighthearted songs it really shows.
Most of the songs on Curve of the Earth are short and sweet, with only one exceeding the four and a half minute mark in Sounds of Dusk and Dawn
, the most solemn of the dozen along with Now That I’m Dying
and Ever Bright Ever Blue
. The only inconsistency in the album is the short You’re Such an Only Child
which breaks the acoustic-only barrier with a pounding bass riff in the chorus before retreating back to a familiar acoustic verse. The song is not a highlight but brings a jolt of energy right in the middle of an otherwise relaxing set of songs, kind of disrupting the albums flow. The title track is easily a contender for best song with an almost lullaby-feel to it as Dan sings some simple but sincere lyrics like “Today I stood where I hadn't before, and the void was as big as can be; When the place that I stood went unignored I never felt quite so alone, but I’m alright now”. The song is a perfect example of how simplicity can be used to make something so poignant.
Attack in Black’s transition from their folk-infused punk rock to their low key, acoustic sound could be risky but the Wellend, Ontario quartet pulls it off so natural that you can appreciate it for what it is. The Curve of the Earth is an honest, unique offering from a talented band that foreshadowed the direction the band is taking as their new album (Years) By a Thousand Fingertips is more akin to this than Marriage. While it’s generally a somber album, a few moments brighten it up. Some fans might not like the change of pace at first but those who can get over no power chords or solos will find a handful of truly great songs here.
I’m Going to Forget
Morning Bird/Water Line
The Curve of the Earth