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The Curtains of Night

Lost Houses

(Holidays for Quince; US: 7 Oct 2008; UK: Available as import)

Though the Curtains of Night take their name from a Carter Family song, their stoned metal sound owes very little to the country tradition. However, the band’s approach is very much like the Carters’. They take the simplest elements and the barest sounds to make vital and honest music. Together, Lauren Fitzpatrick and Nora Rogers make a sound bigger and more compelling than the most bloated, riff-happy metal band you can think of.

Armed with drums, one guitar, and a homemade amp, they drone through crumbling landscapes on “Living Forest” and “Golden Arrows”. These longer tracks stretch out the riffs and let the notes throb and the drums keep a slow but stomping cadence behind Rogers’ banshee howl. They lead into the equally stark third track, “Lost Houses,” which Rogers ends with the haunting line, “We’re sweeping the attics as the basement burns.” From there, the second, mostly instrumental half of the disc puts a little more muscle in their sound, as they forge forward in search of something new. Something else that can be destroyed.

What makes Lost Houses so distinct is that its stark lyrics and trudging sound is not doesn’t form some shapeless doom, some hopeless and dull apocalypse. Instead, there is real heartache behind these songs, something deeply personal in Rogers’ shout, in Fitzpatrick’s spare but hard-hitting drums. The Curtains of Night aren’t out to prove something with their heavy sound, they’re just out to make a sound that is their own. And they do just that, creating a beautiful growl, a sound that can only come from blood and bone, with Lost Houses.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.

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