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Curious (Yellow) Charms and Blues review Print E-mail
Wednesday, 19 December 1990

Review by Geoffrey Forrester of "Charms and Blues" by Curious (Yellow), which Steve produced and he also co-wrote some of the tracks. The singer in the band is Karin Jansson, Steve's partner for many years. She co-wrote Under the Milky Way. It originally appeared in "OTS", Dec 19th 1990 on page 49 and is transcribed from a clipping.

Curious (Yellow)
Charms And Blues
Red Eye Records

This isn't the kind of number you spin to get the sap rising in anticipation of a big night out. No, rather than being the aural hors d'ourve (sic) to a Barnsey concert or heart starter for a cut-throat Bingo evening, Charms and Blues is, fo the most part, a soothing, even sensual experience to be savoured under the right conditions. Mood is of the essence. So dim the lights, fire up the stale joss sticks and ifyou're feeling partcularly indulgent, fetch the Orchy bottle from beneath the sink. Ready ?

Curious (yellow)'s songwriter and main entity, breathy Swedish chanteuse, Karin Jansson, is the especially special friend of this album' producer and chief instrumentalist, Steven Kilbey. Kilbey co-wrote several of the tracks, and while his benevolent presence is felt throughout, it's never too intrusive. The most obviously Churchish debt is owed by the title track whose ecclesiastical keyboard and ethereal melody give it the hallmarks of an out-take from the Seance sessions.

Kilbey also collaborate on Insomnia, a haunting piece of spoken imagery inhabiting the surreality of a dreamscape. Jansson intones it in a suitably detached manner, over a backing the eerily ebbs and flows to spectral stabs of keyboard, and a reverberated guitar line that, like the drip in Chinese Water Torture, insistently returns to unsettle. The whole piece has the feel of an ancient, unattended machine that doesn't know it should have run down years ago.

Another contributing musician pal is violinist, Violinda (Linda Neil). She soars soulful lines of harmony and counter-melody over the luxuriant Empress, and evocative piece that swims prettily to a gorgeously chiming guitar - couresy of the producer - and bes exemplifies this albums' creative and tasteful use programmed durms.

Many of Jansson's whimsical and wistful lyrics are of a similar mettle to Kilbey's own stream of consciousness excursions. Perhaps unfairly, I'll isolate a few examples: "From stars to stars my soul in a celestial body..."; "...chasing sunspots and shooting stars out of the blue...';"...our carved unicorns, black pearls, semiprecious stones...";"...I give you a feather from an angel's wing..." Yes, fairly earthchildishly quaint. Nevertheless, when coupled with these lush and languid backings and delivered with Jansson's seductive voice, they seem eminently suitable, and the entire effect washes over you pleasurably. Worth the money.

-- Geoffrey Forrester

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