Curses (CAN)
The Bridge



by beachdude USER (36 Reviews)
October 16th, 2015 | 1 replies

Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A fresh start that few expected.

In any facet of life, a truly fresh start is hard to come by. This is even more true in the cutthroat music industry, where your reputation, and that of your previous bands, generally precedes you for better or worse. Toronto electronicore band Abandon All Ships were the epitome of all that made so much of their genre generic and stale, with cheap-sounding synth lines, monotone breakdowns and mediocre vocal performances. The clean vocals came courtesy of Martin Broda, and although his melodies were frequently catchy and could’ve been the highlights of many songs, his voice was so drenched in Auto-Tune and vocal production that one wondered if he could even sing at all. Abandon All Ships broke up last year, and it’s safe to say that many expected the band members to fade into obscurity.

When I received the debut EP from Martin Broda’s new band Curses, The Bridge, it was coincidentally at the same time as one of my friends had been pestering me to watch their music video for “Until My Heart Stops”, with his selling point being that it featured the former singer of Abandon All Ships. Suffice it to say that I went in with absolutely no expectations. The song kicks off with an infectious, upbeat riff before a nearly unrecognizable Broda chimes in: “Was the summer of ’83/It never meant much to me till now”. Stripped of excess layers of production, Broda is a shockingly good singer, with a solid range and warm tone that can incorporate grit when needed, and also soar in a beautiful falsetto. His passionate vocal performance is the clear highlight of The Bridge, and Curses wisely make their frontman the centerpiece of their sound.

Yet this is not to discount the quality of the songwriting, as there is nary a weak moment throughout The Bridge’s 18-minute runtime. The EP opens with its most lyrically downcast song, “Back To Your Love”, telling the story of a man lost without his true love. While the refrain of “My head/my head is underwater” is cliched, it is effective due to both the passion behind its delivery and its simple catchiness. This is true throughout, as simple, catchy lyrics and streamlined instrumentals are elevated by passionate delivery and quality songwriting. Nothing here reinvents the wheel - it just does what it does very well. There is also a progression throughout the five tracks that threads them together, as the darker lyrical and musical atmosphere of the earlier tracks gradually gives way to a lighter mood. Standout track “Until My Heart Stops” exemplifies this transition - an upbeat piece of heartland rock reminiscent of contemporaries Deaf Havana, the song uses straightforward songwriting as a weapon aimed straight at the heartstrings, as the catchy hook gives way to a stunning bridge that showcases the band’s tight harmonies.

The EP completes its sonic journey into more optimistic fare with closer “Goosebumps”, a pop rock number with a dance-able riff reminiscent of more mainstream alt rock bands such as Walk the Moon, as Broda gives a sort of mission statement for the group: “Our hearts are filled with desire/We can set the world on fire”. While Curses may not set the world on fire on The Bridge, they have certainly shattered all expectations set by their frontman’s former band, and have proven themselves able to write catchy alt rock earworms with broad appeal, and a surprising amount of sonic diversity. If listeners can set aside their expectations (or lack thereof), they will find that Broda has earned a fresh start, and has set the bar high for the band’s inevitable debut full-length.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
February 13th 2018


Three years too late, maybe, but this review is super good. I would never have known the singer was from Abandon All Ships!

Sweet listen.

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