The Curves That Kick (Reissue)

Written by: PP on 29/05/2010 18:41:06

About a week back I reviewed a reissue of "Drop Out", the breakthrough sophomore album by the So Cal sludge quartet 16, where they evolved into an identity of their own. The second re-issue released simultaneously was "Curves That Kick", the band's long out-of-print debut album where they sound considerably different from any later output. I guess you could argue that they were still searching for that identity which they'd find three years later, because "Curves That Kick" is largely a stylistic mess, borrowing bits and pieces from punk, grunge and even early hardcore scenes, and meshing it all together into a sludgy/stoner re-interpretation.

That said, the songs on the record aren't all that bad, with especially "Chum", the title track and the rumbling bass of "Sedatives" making a good impression. They just suffer from shoddy production despite re-mastering, with the bass drowning most of the instruments - and especially the vocals - underneath it. But considering how much of the band's sound derives from that very instrument, I suppose it's somewhat fitting here. Particularly fans of Kyuss and Fu Manchu should find something to like here, and later 16 fans can still enjoy the distorted barks and fuzzy screams of vocalist Cris Jerue, plus there's the obvious noise-rock connection to Unsane and Helmet as well.

While it sure is interesting to go back and figure out how 16 slowly evolved into the sludge titans that they are today, the fact of the matter is that their later releases are simply better than their debut from 17 years ago, especially when you are given such a direct comparison between the sophomore album "Drop Out" or even their latest album "Bridges To Burn". Proceed with caution, and go for either of the latter before "Curves That Kick" if you're new to the band.

Download: Chum, Curves That Kick
For the fans of: Unsane, Helmet, Kylesa
Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.03.2010 (originally in 1993)

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