It was a sad day for goth rock when the New York-based Caledonia called it quits in 1999. Not that the band's breakup was mourned by millions -- Caledonia wasn't well-known, and the obscure band only had a small following (mostly in and around the Big Apple). But Caledonia did show considerable promise in the late '90s. Thankfully, two of Caledonia's ex-members (drummer Robert Lacyk and the expressive singer Mikaela Pearson) ended up in an equally promising New York band called Curse, whose self-titled debut album is among goth's more bluesy and rootsy, less-produced efforts. This excellent CD has the usual goth elements -- haunting melodies, darkly romantic lyrics -- but it also has a healthy appreciation of blues-rock, folk-rock, and jazz. There are parallels between Curse and artists like the Crüxshadows, Diva Destruction, Sisters of Mercy, and the seminal Bauhaus, but Curse's members (who also include bassist Theodora Michaels and guitarist Kevin Michaels) never sound like they listen to goth exclusively. When this very guitar-based album is playing, one gets the impression that they've been influenced by everyone from the Doors and Alice Cooper (both of whom helped pave the way for goth rock) to Siouxsie & the Banshees. The wildly infectious single "Graveyard Shuffle" (which boasts a guest appearance by rock/jazz guitarist Marc Ribot) has a bluesy, shadowy groove that would make the Doors proud, and melodic gems like "High Enough to Reach" and "Like a Glass of Wine" offer an unlikely blend of goth rock and folk-rock -- almost like goth meets the Indigo Girls. Curse's first album is diverse and fairly unpredictable, but not at the expense of being focused and consistent. Those seeking something fresh from goth should make a point of obtaining this fine CD.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson