Brand New’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me stands as one of the best albums of the last decade, receiving praise from long-term fans and turning heads from those unaware. However, many were disappointed by its follow-up Daisy, for reasons I’ll never quite understand. In the time since Daisy’s release, a handful of bands have released albums of their own that connect with the great Devil and God more than Brand New could. The latest band to do this, following The Republic of Wolves, Balance & Composure and Sainthood Reps, is Reverse the Curse, with their debut album Hither & Yon.
A particularly tall AP.net staff member calls Reverse the Curse “The best band you’ve never heard.” He isn’t far off. In fact, he might have hit it right on the nose. The band creates songs featuring ethereal, bright instrumentation, generating a complete contrast with the husky vocals of Ed Starcher.
On songs like the opener “Bell, Book & Candle,” “Bathers” and “To Dig A Hole,” you can’t help but draw connections to the past works of Brand New and Colour Revolt. The opening track features instrumentation you wouldn’t expect from relatively hardcore music. Featuring incredibly clean guitars in the introduction and keys in the post-chorus, you would think you were listening to indie rock. It speaks volumes about how powerful the throaty vocals of Starcher are. “Bathers” is a personal favorite off the record, with the portion of the song near the end winning the award for the album’s best moment. With Starcher howling “I never want to wake up,” the song comes to a chaotic end. If Matt Fazzi was 2010’s star-in-the-making, it wouldn’t be far off the mark to say Starcher is 2011’s. It doesn’t hurt that the song features some incredible instrumentation, with the guitar from Starcher and drumming from Joe Regets driving the song.
As the drums from Regets kick in on “Seasons,” you can’t help but feel a classic rock, John Bonham inspiration seep through. And with the paired howls from Starcher and bassist Connor Johnson, this song isn’t one that will be easy to forget. Other highlights include “To Dig A Hole,” which features one of the catchiest hardcore-ish choruses you will ever hear, “Northwind & The Sun,” which is a downright epic track driven by Johnson’s bass, and album closer “Emitter,” which captures the band at its softest, led by a rare appearance of reserved vocals from Starcher.
So it may be true that not a lot of people know Reverse the Curse right now. But if bands like The Republic of Wolves, Balance & Composure and Colour Revolt have shown anything, it’s that esteem can change very quickly. With an album like Hither & Yon, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this band blow up immediately.