- All Music Guide
- Strange guitar openings that seem to either emanate from southern California, or they are California dreaming. Bethany Curve´s music is strange, dynamic, and thoughtful. They seem to have all of the qualities of a rock band, not to mention they share much of the same instrumentation, but Bethany Curve comes off sounding like Depech Mode´s David Gahan singing behind a wall of very, very dense distorted guitar. The music is actually very interesting. At first listen you´re almost ready for one of those generic lead guitar riffs, ala Staind or one of the other bands that happened to score a hit after being on the Ozz Fest tour, but then the recording opens up to something else entirely. Bethany Curve´s You Brought Us Here actually sounds quite a bit like the work of Radiohead, as they share some of the same artistic and musical values and then wrap them up into a piece that is both accessible and easily listenable. Bethany Curve is a unique outfit and one whose music fits neatly just the other side of the pop music periphery, which is very refreshing. Bethany Curve´s You Brought Us Here is a stellar recording, and one that certainly delivers a quality and engaging listening experience. This recording is so wonderful that easily deserves All Music Guide pick status. Excellent! - Matt Borghi
- The Big Takeover - Issue #49
- Three years since their last album, Gold, this band has kept moving along the same pathways, gathering strength and style. A shimmery shoegaze flood of sound opens up the CD, bringing in heavy clouds touched with linings of silver and sunlight. There are definite moments in the melody that bring to mind The Cure, sliding back to Faith or Seventeen Seconds, but the mood is more oceanic and droning, like summer night lullabies that warm you up in autumn weather - or Cocteau Twins on codeine, or My Bloody Valentine without the noise and chaos. Richard Millang breathes out the lyrics, sometimes a sigh and sometimes a shiver. The lack of a bass doesn't take away from the heaviness, and the drums beat out a rhythm strong enough to keep the songs moving in a steady flow through time. - Marcel Feldmar
- Cold Comfort
- Ever since Slowdive decided to obliterate their brooding, melancholy sound in favor of a Sixties rehash under the name Mojave 3, Bethany Curve have gladly taken up their mantle. Behold droning, textured moodscapes that are more punk in intent than anything ever released on Epitaph. The sound works like a sensory deprivation tank, cutting the listener off from familiar rock moves like screaming, shimmying, preening, etc. The sustain-rich guitars have that castrated jetski sound that makes them seem like they're circling around you and spinning some kind of spiderweb upon your brain; in addition to the axes, the vocals function as the other main disorienting force. Opening songs "Long Beach", "Ann Illusion," and "Silver" make up a flawless and spellbinding 23-minute trilogy. Almost the entire lyrical content of the 11-minute "Ann Illusion" is the phrase "Never run down," repeated mantra-like over and over. It's very stirring, as though one is watching a Zen monk meditating on the meaning of life while dialing in his delay pedal. After those three songs I didn't even need to listen to the rest to know that the band had given their fans their moneys' worth. Unfortunately, three of the next four songs drag and mope a bit too much for me, but in an interesting Sigur Ros and Low type of way. Then comes "Airplanes Down," eerily-named when one considers that this album was released exactly one week before the September 11th terrorist attacks; this song title works as an interesting counterpoint to the "never run down" lyric discussed earlier. As a further bonus, this album lacks the cheesy Photoshopped graphics that most Unit Circle releases have. Out of the 55 minutes, about 40 are excellent, and the rest are forgivably neutral; with some added dynamics and muscle this would've contended for, and probably won, album of the year honors. Slowdive took up the Cocteau Twins' mantle in the '90s, and it is now officially passed on to Bethany Curve. As a final warning, many of you will immediately dislike Bethany Curve upon hearing them because they might be too wimpy or pretentious, but if you do, you were probably one of the slow kids in your class and you probably shouldn't be reading this zine.
- CD Baby
- Liquidy, swirling, buoyant guitars envelop this spacey, wave-like songwriting; images of underwater marvels come to mind; bright colors, a world of blues and greens separated by curtains of rippling sun rays, meandering through the depths of dark and light. An absolute must for followers of Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and The Cure, this album is will detach you from your woes in its cool, spacious, circling beauty.
- Blisscent Mailing List
No post-mortem required, Bethany Curve are alive & spirit chasing...seemingly relocated to a studio on the event horizon...these dreamrock survivors have created a sonic journey of an album that radiates gamma energy & blazing epics...
'YBUH' is a sonic testament to the genius of Bethany Curve as they bathe in the rippling tides of space ambience, & stride thru the darkened halls of goth...nostalgically gazing ever backwards at the shoes that once lifted them spaceward...metamorphosis has led to a refining of those ascendant guitars that shatter moons & then dive into effervescent pools of loveliness...vox of Promethean reach...enraptured by floating harmonies...drums that quake, & defy predictability...
...outstanding tracks such as 'silver', 'airplanes down' & 'the lodge' demonstrate how effortlessly BC walk the tightrope between dreamrock/ambient influences such as Dead Can Dance & Slowdive...& emerge unique as ever...
...this is a journey that begins tentatively on a 'long beach'...eventually descending into the underworld ...echo & distortion accompany you to the other side of your dark dream...
...where the wash of passionate sound greets you on the shore of your imagination...& wonder is gazing at neon novas...& crimson stars...your soul cries out to the non-corporeal dancers that flirt amongst the universe of sound....step out...into the ocean of music...the singularity that is Bethany Curve...for as they aptly remind us...'you brought us here'... - Nick King
- C & D Services
Oh Lord, how I've waited for this album - I was beginning to think that I'd never hear anything new from this lot again, leaving me with just the legacy of two incredibly fine albums that were, and still are, unlike any other band on the planet. Then, just as the memory was fading, along comes album number three, and as they say in the promo blurb, 'three years in the making, a new line-up and nine brand new songs'. So, how have they changed? Have they changed? If not, why not? Questions…
On the first run through, I came up with a great way to sum up the falvour of this album, and that was, for all those out there familiar with Eno, just listen to the tracks 'On Some Faraway Beach' or 'Taking Tiger Mountain' , imagine the sonic drone canopies expanded, stretched, spaced-out and strengthened, and - bingo - you have this album. But, on second play, even more subtleties and nuances opened their doors and you see yet another set of layers that you never really heard first time. With most of the compositions revolving around massive, ringing, shimmering, chiming, droning, layered, crystalline, wall-to-wall guitar soundscapes, backdrops and lead layers, each song conveys this huge sound but with the wistfulness of first EP-era Mellonova and the mind-expanding sonic strength of early King Black Acid, as light, slightly buried, vocals soar above the instrumental splendour, as though in slow motion, to provide a way cool companion to the seemingly endless horizons of guitars, while all the time the electric bass and drums, slowly move forward, gently but firmly driving the compositions on. The atmospheres conveyed by each song are nothing short of magical, and it's the sort of album that you always will turn up loud and let it all wash over you, preferably in a slightly subdued or even unlit room, with nothing but a distant warmth for company, as the sinuous waves of sonic splendour inhabit every fibre of your head and heart, music that is filled with passion, strength, yearning and romanticism. It's as much about 'feel' as it is about the songs and their structure, but either way, it's simply stunning from start to finish and every bit worth the wait - albums like this don't come along very often and you owe it to yourself to dive in and enjoy the experience, one that will last for many years to come. - Andy G
- Dead Angel - Issue #49
- Most of the reviews i've seen for this compare them to the Cure, which i find baffling -- if anything, they're a more guitar-heavy update on the ambient/shoegazer sound favored by Cocteau Twins, the early 4AD bands like This Mortal Coil, and GLIDER-era My Bloody Valentine. They favor creating spiraling cathedrals of melodic sound, as clearly demonstrated by the opening track "Long Beach," a sweeping stack of guitar drones that pulses with a steady beat as guitars swirl and drone around the rhythmic center. As with earlier albums, their overall sound is dense and majestic, a swirling veil of sound designed to envelop the listener in near-ambient sound while still retaining a recognizable sense of structure and melody. This new release took three years (and a new lineup) to assemble, and the time they spent on it has paid off -- this is easily the best in a series of excellent releases. The entire disc is uniformly excellent (and in some ways reminds me a great deal of the last Lockgroove album), so much so that i'm not sure i even have a favorite... all of it is strong stuff. (I do especially like the uberfuzz guitars on "The Guarantee" and the propulsive -- sorta -- drive of "The Lodge" and odd bits here and there, but overall the entire disc is of such consistency that it's hard to single out any one song.) I like that the vocals are subservient to the guitars, often unintelligible and drifting through the wall of sound -- that much, at least, could be compared to DISINTEGRATION-era Cure (although i'd liken it more to PURE-era Godflesh, but that's just the kind of guy i am). As usual, another fine release from Unit Circle, and one worthy of your time and attention....
- Evil Sponge - Issue #49
Bethany Curve are from Santa Cruz, California. That makes me think of frentically paced guitars played by spikey haired tan boys. And indeed, Bethany Curve are a guitar based band. And indeed, in the photos on their website at least one member is a spikey haired boy.
But they ain't no Green Day clone.
Bethany Curve instead remind me more of the music that came out of the British Isles in the late 80's and early 90's. It's slow music with meandering washes of guitar sound. And there is a certain coldness to it. Not the coldness of music from a snow-covered clime, but the coldness of people who live most of their lives inside air-conditioned buildings. The coldness of the South (and, presumably, Southern California) in the summer, when it's 105º F outside, but 75º F inside. You go inside, covered in sweat, and need to put on a long sleeved shirt for a few minutes while your body adjusts to the temperature change.... That's what this music makes me think of.
Of course, i am a southerner who considers our summers oppressive. It's like winter for people who live in the frozen states: you have to psyche yourself up to leave the building, because it's going to be freaking miserable out there! Naturally, i spend the bulk of my summers inside, only to go out for brief spurts of intense sweating. It's a reflective time for me: sitting inside with the blinds half open, the powerful sun beating down on me, the air-conditioner straining, and no one around but my cats, who lie panting.
Bethany Curve's music reminds me of all of that: the pleasant isolation of the air-conditioned world, while terror (in the form of heat, or whatever bothers you) lies just outside the door. It's music that describes a comfortable space, but hints that there is something worse just waiting...
It's really nice music to just sit and listen to -- just wandering guitar textures and vague vocals. The vocals are interesting: vaguely gothy (in that they remind me of early Modern English), vaguely sleepy (slow paced), and vaguely blurry (buried under the guitar textures).
This is their fourth album, and it is the second Bethany Curve album that i have obtained. Their previous album, Gold was much like this album. Oh sure, there are slight differences, but for the most part Bethany Curve have their style nailed down, and they continue to explore that territory.
There are a few standout tracks on this disc. Summer Left Me features acoustic guitar over sparse and slower than usual vocals in a way that reminds me of Rainbird by Love And Rockets. It's a nice effect, and is a pleasant break from the otherwise constant electric guitar drones that make up the rest of their work. As to the electric guitar parts, i especially like I'm Tired Gone, which pairs the washed out guitar textures with nice insistent drumming, and Ann Illusion , which sounds almost as if there are horns droning in the background.
Those are both pleasant songs, and this is a good album in the distinctive Bethany Curve style. However, well, if you are just getting into Bethany Curve i would recommend Gold first. You see, their best song, hands down, is called Pool And The Shine and is on that disc. It's the height of their mastery of intertwining guitar tones, and is qutie stunning. Nothing on You Brought Us Here equals the majesty of that song. So start there.However, if you have listened to Bethany Curve and find their music enjoyable, then you will consider this album a wonderful addition to their catalog. - PostLibyan
- Lollipop Magazine
- I remember seeing Bethany Curve open for Autumn in Boston, during the Fall of 1997. I wasn’t impressed and was hesitant to review this CD, but as the disc went in and the music came out, I was treated to a different sound. You Brought Us Here demonstrates that shoegazer music is alive and well. The guitar drones and layers of sound blend beautifully to form walls of sound, making it a pleasure to absorb the aural textures as they pass through the body. The sounds have a shadowy undertone, and a chilling voice conjures images of a skeletal hand beckoning the listener to follow into darkness. The low percussions control the rhythm and the guitars create the atmosphere of a dream. If My Bloody Valentine, Curve, and The Cure (circa Wish) went on an acid trip together and created an album, this would be it. The album begins with dark illusions until "The Guarantee," which is different from the rest of the album in that there are no vocals and the melancholy melodies turn into noise. After the two-minute interlude of guitar feedback, however, the mythical trip moves into a different headspace, bringing a more lighthearted feel to the rest of the album. - DJ Arcanus
- NoFi Magazine
- So here is yet another one of those CD’s that Chris lost for like 10 years (okay, I’m exaggerating, a little). I was actually excited when he handed me this CD to review though, as I had heard very good things about them when I lived in San Fran. And they were spot-on just what I expected and was hoping for- dazed out “shoegazer” brain candy. Since this CD was put out in 2001, I was curious if they still existed, so I did a little extra research and to my deep pleasure and surprise, they actually are working on a fifth CD. They have the obvious MBV and Slowdive and Ride influences that make you feel like someone slipped a little something strange in your Diet Coke. Listening to this band makes me feel very relaxed and peaceful, like I am one of the ghosts at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride dancing around in that big ballroom, but in slow motion. Its that kind of romantic melancholy that makes you wonder if vampires really do exist. Or maybe I just read too much Anne Rice as a teenager? Anyway, it’s dazzling and enchanting and I am in love with it. - Mary Bond
- Losing Today
- Three years after their last release, Bethany Curve has resurfaced with a consistent and powerful album that highlights their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses. The opening soundscape delivered in Long Beach sets the stage for a rich musical experience that is sure to delight shoegaze purists. One of Bethany Curve’s greatest strengths is the liquid spaciousness of their guitar-laden, atmospheric arrangements. Tracks such as Ann Illusion and Airplane Down literally bathe the listener is wave after wave of textured ambient sound that could easily stand alone as complete compositions without the addition of vocals. That said, all but one of the tracks on You Brought Us Here are sprinkled with Richard Millang’s breathy vocals. However, if I have one complaint about this release, it’s that in most instances the vocals feel like an afterthought, and are even somewhat of a distraction from an otherwise shimmering and multilayered composition, the one notable exception being the final track on the CD: The Lodge, in which Millang’s vocals provide the perfect accompaniment to the nearly boyant and luscious atmosphere created in this final song. Overall, You Brought Us Here is a solid release that is sure to please Bethany Curve fans who have had to wait three years for a new album. In addition, many 4AD junkies and even a few Eno followers will likely find a spot in the CD changer for this distinctive and satisfying release. - Jennifer Jones
- The History of Rock Music
You Brought Us Here (Unit Circle Rekkids, 2001) is almost sunny and optimistic compared with their beginnings. The dense and foggy textures have achieved an almost mystic intensity. Unfortunately, the magic tends to last only for the instrumental ouverture: the vocals are still the band's weakness, often spoiling the otherworldly atmosphere just created by the symphony of drones.
The album is even more majestic and psychedelic than the previous one. The tone is almost grandiose. The pace is languid. Long Beach sets the standard with its spiraling drones and its sprightly, jazzy drumming. Unfortunately, it also sets the standards for the vocal parts, with an overdubbed, ethereal wailing that sounds like a cross between Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and a choir of monks.
The sideral doodling of Ann Illusion achieves an effect similar to the frescoes of "kosmische musik", before an endless, whispered litany takes over. No matter how creative the guitar work, these Pink Floyd-ian vocals turn everything into a shoegazing version of Time And Us: Silver has an undercurrent of melodic phrases worthy of a requiem, Airplanes Down has echoes and loops that would hypnotize a dead man, but they all have to support the voice non as a simple instrument of the orchestra but as the center of mass. By the end of the album, The Lodge may have found a way to justify the effort, stretching the vocals to the point that they are mere mantras howled in the emptiness while the instrumental score rises and abates with unusual dynamics.
There are very few gothic moments. There are many moments that are closer to easy listening than to avantgarde rock. Summer Left Me is the closest to a regular song (with rhythmic guitar and female backing vocals). This album is a lounge soundtrack in disguise. - Piero Scaruffi
- Now this is good, atmospheric soundscapes from Seattle - swirling slowly uncoiling warmth, classic Chapterhouse/Slowdive/Cocteau Twin/Curve/Spiritualized textures. Layer upon layer it softly soars - they pour out. It's classic 4AD/shoegazing music, they have that little extra of their own though, it's almost symphonic in a Porcupine Tree manner, never difficult, always accessible, always warm, Bethany Curve wrap themselves around you. Recommended.
- Outburn - Issue #17
- From Shoegazing to stargazing (4/5): This trio from Santa Ana (actually Santa Cruz), California are the flagship band from Seattle's Unit Circle Rekkids, where commercialism and listener placation are nowhere on the agenda. Singer Richard Millang drones atmospherically throughout You Brought Us Here and, surprisingly for a band that creates such a textured sound, they shy away from keyboards and synthesizers. Bethany Curve is able to take guitars to an ambient landscape that few would think possible. Guitar purists, take note. Obvious comparisons are moody barometer bands like Slowdive and Cocteau Twins. The songs lapse into one another sleepily and seamlessly, making the album feel more like one giant odyssey of a song instead of nine distinct tracks. The trio has plenty of fun with reverb and distortion; they aren't afraid to lull you to sleep, but they're also not afraid to wake you up hard with escalating guitars and percussion. Ocaisonally, though, I was left wanting a little more. Or perhaps less. Songs like "Ann Illusion" stretch on too long without traveling through enough peaks and valleys. But if you are indeed stargazing - or getting stoned in a planetarium - you'll savor each of the 55 minutes. - Adam McKibbin
- Resonance Magazine
- Layer upon layer of droney guitar effects will immediately grant you respect from any fan of dream pop. If you can get a guitar to sound like a keyboard, you might just get bonus points. Making your record cover similar to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless? We'll just let that slide for now. This California trio is guilty of all these things and goes beyond the call of duty with its blurry washes of guitar and hazy vocals. In fact, You Brought Us Here practically replicates the sounds of early Ride and Slowdive. But whereas those bands had sunny moments, Bethany Curve settles on gloomy textures that run upwards of 10 minutes. And although the lyrics are unintelligible, you just know that they're singing about the saddest heartbreak to go with it. Before you know it, you're immersed in a moody, swirling atmosphere that never lets up. A shoegazer's delight. - Kenyon Hopkin
- Santa Cruz Metroactive - December 5, 2001
- It's hard to believe that the sounds generated by Bethany Curve's fourth album, You Brought Us Here, come from usual suspects like guitar and drums instead of synths or keyboards. Apparently lacking a bass player at the time, Bethany Curve recorded the nine-track CD with just two guitars, drums and vocals. The result is a dreamlike album soaked in ethereal guitar effects, haunting vocals and echoing drums. At times, Bethany Curve's heavily layered sounds wander very close to New Age territory, but don't be fooled: this one-time SC-based crew is pure shoegazer.
- Sound Projector - Issue #10
- The highlighted letters in the track listing pick out the words 'LOVE MISSED'. The album's title, meanwhile, carries hints of hurt and recrimination. Thus Bethany Curve set out the emotional agenda that is explored at length on this fourth album from the California three-piece. Bethany Curve walk down paths already well trodden by the likes of Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and Flying Saucer Attack: dreamy, languid vocals drifting over great swathes of feedback-drenched guitar and reverb-heavy percussion. Yet while it would be tempting to label You Brought Us Here as a lame work of copyism, something prevents me from doing so. The album transcends its lineage by virtue of its determination to conjure and sustain a mood of extreme, willed melancholy. There is little in the way of textural variation over the course of the album's nine tracks and 55 minutes. On only one track, the pastoral 'Summer Left Me', does a gently strummed acoustic guitar break through the lowering clouds of electricity, coming as an intense relief before it characteristically makes way for waves of short, abstract drones. In short, as an evocation of lost or thwarted love, this is a remarkable collection. Bethany Curve are without bitterness or rancour; instead the music communicates, through its funereal pace, washed-out vocals and woozy instrumentation, intense regret and wintry resignation. - RICHARD REES JONES