Sterling – Cursed

Sterling - CursedSterlingCursed (File 13)

Chicago’s Sterling drinks from the same well of bands like Explosions In The Sky; with slow building swells of forward momentum that eventually reach the open fields of hugely important guitar chords. I’m a sucker for this stuff, which not only taints this review a bit, but it also leads me to be a bit more critical of them too.

Cursed, the band’s third album finds the power trio delivering three (see a pattern?) ornate songs that utilize electric ivories as much as they do electric guitars. The end result is the same: sonic rollercoaster of loud/soft post-rock instrumentals that ultimately don’t sound very thought out or passionately executed. And that’s a problem for me: you’d better have a goddamn good reason to get worked up to the point where a pair of songs hug the thirteen minute mark and, more importantly, you’d better deliver enough to hold my attention for thirteen fucking minutes.

Yes, songs “Lurker” and “Arcadia” ramble on epically with an occasional clever passage or intriguing arrangement. But for the majority of the time, I was getting mad at myself for not being able to stay focused on Cursed‘s apparent importance. In reality, I should have been mad at Sterling for not giving me something important enough to pay attention to in the first place.

It barely goes beyond something that amounts to a fairly inspired rehearsal session of talented musicians. Drummer Tony Lazzara plods the band forward with rhythm and fills that sound as listless as Eric Chaleff’s guitar work. It’s like everyone kept waiting for someone else to kick the shit into gear. Keyboardist Andy Lansangan does manage to provide some nifty textures during those infrequent moments of creative exploration, it’s unfortunately not enough to save Cursed from its own malevolent complacency.

MP3: Sterling – “Lurker” (part 1 edit)

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