Straight out of the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight, Curxes, helmed by songstress Roberta Fidora, blesses us with her latest album “Gilded Cage.” “Gilded Cage” with its unpredictable production, rangy and versatile vocal styling, and its overall creativity, make this album fantastic. It’s comparable to being on a high powered hallucinogen in a house of mirrors.
On the song “Youth Ascension” Ms. Fidora offers subdued, melancholy vocals that erupt to full on roars. With lyrics like” You bring the doubt and I’ll bring the day” the artist sounds like their begging to be validated in a world that discounts, diminishes, and debases its inhabitance. The drums on “Youth Ascension” sound like heartbeats on a monitor in an intensive care unit; accompanied with a subtle baseline and highlighted with teasing bells. “Hallows” greets us with a high pitched, shrilling keyboards over a “Reznor” like drum line. The singer starts with dismal brooding vocals that switch to muffled screams. The lyrics of “All the way up there/All the way down here” are like synthesized chants from a Navajo Medicine Man.
Synthy bells and an industrial baseline signal the start of “Let Me Down.” Ms. Fidora gives us a feeling of exhausted disappointment as she sings ”I can never make you understand it/but know your sympathy is second hand/it’s all B.S.” The rhythmic owl like tones that fold into shrieking dial up modem sounds at the end are a great touch. It’s the mixture of well-placed simulated sounds and lyrics like “dead pets and absent friends” that make this song great, and are the hallmarks of this project. The upbeat, smooth and dare I say dance inducing production of “Caricature” is contrasted by the songstress’s whimsical toned, but serious lyrics “Don’t fight me/I’m a caricature/you want to pick a fight with someone your own size.”
“In Your Neighborhood” is an achievement! From the angelic, harmonizing, inhales and exhales at the beginning, the wonderful background wails that showcase the singers range, and the layers of production that increase ever so slightly to the end. It’s great. “Functional” starts off with raindrop keyboards and 808’s that are complimented with the singer delivering echoing vocals that melt like margarine all over the track. I loved “Uniseum” with its haunting organ, and painful ascending and descending wails. It’s too short.
“The Stars like Dust” is another one. The captivating vocals sound like hallucinogenic incantations from a high priestess. The background sounds like music for a burial procession of a unicorn. In a great way. If I ever heard anything like this before it has been a long time. “Silent Runnings” is great with its predatory production, indistinguishable scary voices and Ms. Fidora relaxed, but alarming voice bringing it all together.
“Misery Mass” offers 808’s hand clap snares and rhythmic bells. The singer graces us with lyrics like “Will you ask me more? /Will you hear me less? / It’s anyone’s guess.” The chorus is great. The organ rich “Beast Moves” is great, but just like “Uniseum” it’s like serving me hors d’oeuvres at Thanksgiving. Its tastes great. I know somebody spent time on it, and gave it their very best. But I still want more. “Cassie” has a very solemn organ with depressing vocals. All I can say is when it’s said and done I hope “Cassie” is alright.
There is a difference between a good artist, and an exceptional artist. The good artist gives you effort. The production and lyrics are good. There is a sense of knowledge of and history of the genre that shines in the music. The exceptional artists gives you an experience. That’s what “Gilded Cage” is. An experience like no other. Outstanding!