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"The Bough Breaks - Cursed Lullaby Breaks Out at The Key Club"

Saligia is an acronym combining all the first letters of the seven deadly sins: Superbia, Avaritia, Luxuria, Invidia, Gula, Ira, and Acedia. Each song on the album takes on one of these sins as the thematic material for the lyrics.

The album cover itself looks straight out of a surreal dream – some cement prison tower merging with a desert storm. This image sets the tone of the album as it begins with the sounds of rain and cymbals running through the left and right speaker channels along with chanting. This is lead singer Mandy Carpenter, hailing from Iceland. She is the antithesis of Bjork in case you were thinking there would be any comparison. You’re definitely not going to see Mandy wearing a swan dress and singing sea shanties!

The chanting leads into the first track, Winter Rain, with a buzz into the lovely combination of Joel Donner on rhythm guitar and Larry Paul on drums that stays tight throughout this album with great tribal sounding songs thanks to those deep bass drums. If I could think of one band to compare that kept coming to mind it was the dark melodies and rhythms of Soundgarden, think Spoonman.

The Key Club has existed in many forms in the history of Los Angeles, just down the street from The Whiskey and House of Blues. It was a suitable setting for the album release of Saligia, being something of a dungeon meets sports bar with a dinner lounge on the upper tier where you can watch the band with a big screen re-broadcasting live from behind.

I had the chance to chat with Cursed Lullaby’s bass player Tim Cottage before the show about this independently produced album and the band’s upcoming tour. I found the story completely inspiring! Each band member contributed to the month long production. The plan is they are going to hit some of the major cities along the west coast and as interest builds they hope to move their way to the Midwest.

Winter Rain is my favorite song off of the album, and was what I thought was the stand out track the first time I ever saw Cursed Lullaby live. On a line up with Domminand Godhead my first impression of Cursed Lullaby was Armenian rage rock with a female lead singer who could actually pull it off. We’re talking vocal power comparable to Courtney Love (and even Courtney never went as hard core as Canada’s all girl metal rage rock band Kittie. Mandy definitely knows how to meow.) When people hear Winter Rain on the radio they will be sure to mistake it for Evanescence. I don’t think this is a bad thing. Mandy’s voice is a higher pitch and definitely edgier than Amy Lee. Tim revealed Waiting was recorded more as an afterthought in the studio and is receiving the most rave reviews as the album’s single. This was the most feminine song of the bunch, with a quick little rap at the end that might remind you of Pink or maybe Paramour.

Opaque was my second favorite track on the album, a duet with Mandy and Evan that was really cool watching at The Key Club. It is just a really well composed rock song and completely worth of radio play with a haunting melody that breaks into a strong finale and ends on an ever so soft string fade out. Hollow Heart also includes this nicely blended harmonizing between the singers. As far as the mix goes, the vocals are always at the fore front, and the samples are subtle. There are some light piano and subtle keyboard strings mixed in the background thanks to the producer Evan Rodaniche of rapcore pioneer band Powerman 5000 in command. The end result is a very strong rock album with just a smattering of punk influence on Made This Hate. Premonition is just plain good rock music with bending guitar riffs by lead guitarist Bryce Waring bringing that great heavy metal influence contrasting with some whispering spoken word weaving in and out of the mix. I could totally see this song on a horror film soundtrack.

I did notice the screams like on Inside Me were blended into the mix to the point where Mandy’s vocals sound more like a feedback effect. Indifference is so hardcore, reminding me of Courtney Love’s fantastic “F-you” on Hole’sI Think That I Would Di.” The first time I saw Mandy live she segued into her set explaining that she has been plagued with reoccurring nightmares since childhood and that these nightmares are the basis of the song lyrics. On Inside Me Mandy screams “Liar!” and I wanted to hear that scream come out, but taken in the context of a nightmare maybe this actually works. Hollow Heart seems to be about a possession, “And now that you have her/You can never let go/Now that you have her/You feel her empty heart/You are hollow.” And the chorus hooks are fantastic on Revelations with, “Why won’t you free me/I’m okay/I’m not afraid of knowing/Countless days of your lies.”

The first time I saw Cursed Lullaby I knew I wanted to hear more from them, and that I would. Saligia is a great rock album!

Visit Cursed Lullaby at their official website: Cursed Lullaby

Cursed Lullaby photos by: Enrique Nuñez

Bitchin' Entertainment - 1989