29 Feb 2024

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Curlys Jewels - Single Review: Criminal

06 Nov 2022 // A review by Nicholas Clark
Curlys Jewels' Criminal begins with one hell of a riff inspired by the glory days of 90’s grunge, but produced with a little more bite giving it a metallic vibe. I instantly thought of Alice in Chains, not only as an influence on the song but also as another band that drew heavily from both genres.

After a heavily effected signal that operates as a segue, the band enters the less intense verse. When Jel Pollock, the band’s vocalist, joins the song the listener can tell which instrument is really going to be showcased. Her voice is similar to Lzzy Hale from Halestorm, but I would venture to say that Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson must be an influence on her phrasing and strong delivery also. New Zealand’s Tadpole also come to mind. Like many of their other songs, such as Liberate, there are moments where Pollock has harmonised with herself for dramatic effect, proving her powerful and adept control of her voice.

The song then moves to the chorus that has an Adam Jones’ (Tool) feel thanks to the chunky guitar playing from Aaron Ludlow, while Pollock sings ‘I never saw it till it slapped me in the face ... despicable, criminal’. It’s pure fist pumping anthem rock. I can imagine this going down a treat live.

When the band returns to the subdued verse, I can hear other influences, such as European Power and Symphonic metal but much of that has to do with the exotic sounding notes and of course Pollock’s dramatic vocals. The rhythm section here of Andy van der Heyden (bass) and Corey Bell (drums) is professional to the point of inconspicuousness – there are few fills that jump out from the mix. Again, this goes back to letting the voice be the star, or the heavily effected guitar at other moments using effects produced in the studio or from pedals.

They told you not to bite the apple,’ she sings in the second verse, and I am beginning to get a little confused over the references. There was something about a cross to bear in the first verse. And a prophecy. However, it’s important to remember here that there is an abundance of heavy music with gruff male singers who get away with near indecipherable gibberish through screaming. They wouldn't be held responsible for explaining their lyrical references. The reason I can hear the lyrics at all is due to Pollock’s clear delivery – I shouldn’t really complain as the syllables work within the context of the song; but I’m not sure what the song is about, other than a despicable criminal. The mosh pits won’t care.

There are soaring vocals over the bridge, and another heavily effected delay signal for the guitar break instead of a solo. The whole song ends with another impressive descending tone. The layers of the song really complement one another. It's a dense cake of awesome.

This song is everything that fans of the band want. It’s similar to their other songs in both tempo and balance of instruments, but that’s not a bad thing. What they do, they do well and with charisma. I would say that the grunge influence they mention on their pages is not as evident (at least in this song), and while describing them as metal to some metalheads might lead to a disagreement, to me they fit nicely in the genre of melodic metal. The crystal-clear modern production certainly helps this classification. Grunge, to me at least, had more punk on its sleeve, experimentation and guitar generated feedback as opposed to pedal or studio created noise. Whatever the genre, Curlys Jewels certainly know how to rock, and this single is catchy, powerful and will absolutely rip in the live setting.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Curlys Jewels

Curlys Jewels are a rock band from Wellington NZ. Their sound has been described as grungy yet powerfully emotive, pinned together with soaring vocals, dark guitar undertones and a punching rhythm section. The charismatic, colourful and instantly likeable front person, Jel Pollock, draws listeners in with her delightfully unique stage presence and sensational vocal range. Aaron Ludlow (guitar), Andy van der Heyden (bass) and Corey Bell (drums), provide the energetic foundations complimenting Jel, with all members lighting up the stage.

The band has released a number or records over the years enjoying success on the Official NZ Top 40 Charts. The past 3 Curlys Jewels singles were recorded at Roundhead Studios with the legendary producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers) and mixed by Clint Murphy (Devilskin).

Curlys Jewels have supported several heavy weight New Zealand bands such as Head Like a Hole, Devilskin, and toured with The Feelers. They also supported international rock stars Living Colour at their Wellington concert.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Curlys Jewels


Curlys Jewels
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Year: 2019
Type: EP
The Skin We Shed
Year: 2017
Type: EP
No Apostrophe
Year: 2014
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Nicholas Clark

Tower Of Flints - Album Review: Live at Paisley Stage
12 Feb 2024 // by Nicholas Clark
The true proof that any band is worthy of praise is the live act. Recalling my own introduction to certain musicians, the quality of a live album would often be the deciding factor of whether I would continue to follow a band.
Mister Unit - EP Review: There's Always Someone With A Bigger Schtick
30 Jan 2024 // by Nicholas Clark
Mister Unit’s third offering, after one EP and an album, is a six strong EP filled with inventive riffs, clever lyrics and catchy melodies. Oh yes, and lots of great guitar solos.
Mister Unit @ Valhalla, Wellington - 18/01/2024
21 Jan 2024 // by Nicholas Clark
An emotional night for many, Valhalla hosted Mister Unit's album release party on Thursday with a three-band line-up. Emotional because the conclusion of work on a recording always is, whether or not it is a celebration, especially so on the dense, powerful and ultimately nostalgic six track album by the headlining band; but more than usual perhaps, because one member who featured on the album was no longer with us.
Gig Review: Dave and the Dirty Humans @ Fringe Bar, Wellington - 13/01/2024
15 Jan 2024 // by Nicholas Clark
Dave and The Dirty Humans are not a band that fades in memory next to the many other current Wellington bands the capital scene appears to be teeming with. Not only is the name a mouthful, but their live shows are memorable, and their songs seem familiar by drawing heavily from the near past (read, the 90’s and 2000’s).
Lung - Album Review: Lung Cancer
07 Jan 2024 // by Nicholas Clark
The legendary 90’s grunge band Lung recently returned to playing live gigs after a hiatus from 1994 until the 2010’s. In 2022 they released Bad Acid Soundtracks II which offered newer versions from their earlier records (like 3 Heads on a Plate and Cactii) but featured the impressive drumming from frontman Dave White’s son, Zak.
Gig Review: Dave and the Dirty Humans @ The Welsh Dragon, Wellington - 27/10/2023
31 Oct 2023 // by Nicholas Clark
If you’ve attended even a handful of live music events in the capital these past two years, chances are you’ve seen or heard of the alternative heavy rock band, Dave and the Dirty Humans. They’re the kind of band you might rave about the next morning, groggily and inaccurately trying to describe their style as both heavy and funky, metallic but not really metal, direct and brutal at times but complex and harmonious the next second.
Dan Sharp - Single Review: Interstellar Runaway
02 Jul 2023 // by Nicholas Clark
Interstellar Runaway, written with Sam Bartells, is Taupo-based songwriter Dan Sharp’s latest single. This song offers more of the soulful, blues inspired pop he has become known for.
Tomahawk Radio - Album Review: Dreaming With A View
20 Jun 2023 // by Nicholas Clark
Tomahawk Radio’s debut album, Dreaming With A View follows their recent single release of the pop tinged rock song Missiles. The band is effectively listenable, soft, alternative rock, but perhaps ‘soft’ is not a favourable way to describe them – ‘sensible’ might be better.
View All Articles By Nicholas Clark

NZ Top 10 Singles

    YG Marley
    Benson Boone
    Noah Kahan
    Teddy Swims
    Jack Harlow
    Taylor Swift
    Tate McRae
    Dua Lipa
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem