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Shoegazer atmospherics & techno beats

When Curve surfaced in the early ‘90s, some critics suggested it was just the latest calculated attempt by the careerist Toni Halliday to crack the charts. The band, which originally comprised only Halliday and guitarist Dean Garcia, were initially hurt by the scrutiny of their credibility but ultimately proved themselves as the real deal; creating a dense sound that combined goth, dreampop, industrial that was sometimes lazily lumped in with the concurrent shoegazer scene, despite having little in common beyond layered guitars. Ultimately it's clear that Halliday's voice and Garcia's musicianship went on to greatly influence several forgettable sound-alikes including Garbage, who appropriated Curve's style, slightly mainstreamed it and parlayed it into chart-topping success.

Horror Head

Antoinette Halliday began her music career in the late ‘70s, singing in a punk band, The Incest (later re-named Photofitz) and then in The Uncles before recording background vocals on several Robert Plant albums. While still a teen, Halliday met Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. He in turn introduced her to Dean Garcia, a guitarist who had played on two Eurythmics albums, Touch and Be Yourself Tonight. Halliday and Garcia formed State of Play with Eurythmics drummer Olle Romö and Garcia’s wife, Julie Fletcher.

After a couple of long-forgotten singles and one shoddy album called Balancing the Scales, the group got caught up in legal disputes with their label (and each other) and broke up. Halliday next tried her hand at a solo career, releasing Hearts and Handshakes, another mostly unheard affair that Dean Garcia played on – although the two weren’t on speaking terms.  She produced the album along with now-renowned producer Alan Moulder, who would one day become her husband.  Although seemingly designed for the top 40 (with the strikingly videogenic Halliday singing slickly-produced songs in the vein of Belinda Carlisle or Pat Benatar) its four singles failed to generate interest.

In 1991, Halliday and Garcia reconciled and began writing songs together again. They renamed themselves Curve and signed to Stewart's label, Anxious. Now sounding like late period Siouxsie & the Banshees combined with Cocteau Twins, they released three EPs in their first year alone. The first was the Blindfold EP (Anxious), which came out in March and actually got the band airplay overseas, despite no US release. Two months later, Anxious issued the Frozen EP. That October, the hat trick was completed with the Cherry EP. It was during this highly productive first year of activity that the negative press began to encircle the band, as Halliday’s newly dark and sultry persona, distinctly at odds with her solo incarnation, seemed like a likely fabrication. Questions of authenticity aside, the strength of Curve's actual music (and videos) allowed the duo to soldier on undeterred and another EP, Fait Accompli (Anxious), surfaced on February 24th, 1992. The EP went to number one on the UK charts and one month later the band reached the top spot again with their debut full-length, the Flood-produced Doppelganger (1992 Charisma). Their chart success carried over to the US as well, where “Fait Accompli” broke the top 20 on the modern rock charts. The Horror Head EP (Anxious) followed that summer.