by Curxes (available now on bandcamp)
There is a poster that has been hanging in my house for the last couple of years. It features a picture of a cat, reading a book and the word ‘Curxes’. Almost every person that walks into my place glances at it; some question it, others admire it and more often than not, it’s a talking point. Generally, by the time the talking is done, I’ve convinced visitors, my fellow bloggers and anyone else who will listen that they’re missing out if they don’t invest a little energy in a little band from the UK. And so, welcome to Verxes.
So I have waited patiently for the debut album from the trio of Roberta Fidora, Macaulay Hopwood (and latest member Camille Phillips) for a little over three years now and within minutes of hitting play, I know the wait was worth it. Dark, moody, melancholy and delightful, it's timeless in a way that is perfect; paying subtle tribute to sounds from the past, while looking nowhere but the future and it is everything I have already come to love but so very much more. While we get to revisit the tracks we've already come to know and love, with ‘Haunted Gold’ as fresh and aggressive now as it was when it introduced me to Curxes a little over three years ago, ‘Spectre’ as gloomy as ever and that build of percussion and synths in ‘Further Still’ creating the same delightfully eerie goose bumps it always has, it's the tracks I have waited for, the songs I haven’t heard until now which are the ones that make a collection of songs an exceptional album and make that album an experience.
The organised chaos of ‘Ghosts’ are a pleasant, super-fast surprise; Roberta’s vocals channelling so many strong female leads of the past, yet remaining her very own while a tough percussion pushes through a minute and a half in what seems like half of that. The combination of pop electro and punk sensibilities of ‘Noise Pollution’ and ‘Animal’ are addictive and gloriously exhausting and probably my favourite; ‘Run From The Funeral’ builds layer upon layer of percussion taking me from despair to sullen delight, creating a track that is both pretty and petrifying, everything that Curxes have proven themselves to be thus far in their short but so impressive life.
The second last track; ‘Pure To Last’ leaves me desperately wanting more, it’s sparse ballad strums and yet strangely optimistic feels leave a beautifully bittersweet taste in my mouth, this album is an experience I am so glad I have waited for, and it’s the talent of Curxes that make albums like this those kind of experiences you want to invest in again and again and again. Verxes is everything I wanted from a band with an interest in taxidermy, paper maiche, budgies and lots of things vintage and glitter, because while I didn’t quite know what to expect, I knew to expect something fabulous, something addictive, something almost timeless and something like nothing else I have in my collection. That poster on my wall won’t be leaving anytime soon, because now that Verxes is at the top of my albums of 2015 list, I expect I will be talking about this extraordinary little band to my visitors, my fellow bloggers and anyone else who will listen for a long time yet.
Jo Michelmore gives Verxes five budgie heads out of five...