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Curlys Jewels - Album Review: Curly Jewels

06 Dec 2023 // A review by Kris Raven

Wellington's Curlys Jewels have recently dropped their full-length long player, Curlys Jewels. A staple in live music scene of Aotearoa, along with a fierce loyal Wellington fan base, Curlys have gone from strength to strength in the last few years, releasing a string of well received, radio bangers throughout the independent and mainstream waves, with every release in my view topping the last in terms of song writing, production and performance.

The backbone of Curlys is provided by the solid, precise thick grooves of drummer Corey Bell, with the intricate fingers and creative play of bassist Andy Van der Hayden, who moves between solid bass riffing to jazzy and dynamic lines that play through and around the guitar and vocal placements. Riff maker Aaron Ludlow's guitar tone and hard and heavy guitar work, takes influence from grunge, 90's and 2000's alternative and hard rock and modern pop sensibilities. The songs have their core riffs and ideas that are guitar heavy and then further elevated by frontwoman and lyricist Jell Pollack. If you have witnessed the Curlys live show, you know that’s Jel's personality is a huge part of the Curlys brand and sound, her vocals clear, defined, tongue and cheque and she can easily sing the house down, from small club to 1000 cap venue.

This self-titled effort is a body of work, written and recorded over several years and then built into an album. Releasing singles is the new wave, but the full length is still a feat many musicians and artists want to accomplish. Curlys did both, well. And for a long time and brand new fan, there is something for everyone. While there might not be an overall flow or concept to the album, it delivers hits like Fancy and Blinders and a few softer numbers and ballads that will please the rock fan palate.

Highlight tracks like Changes feature an epic guitar solo, reminiscent of those Mike McReady vibes, which migrates in and around emotional vocal passages. Liberate has it all, big grooves, sing along chorus, melodic and slick guitars and thick soundscapes. The production of Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers / OpShop / The Feelers) is international, next level quality and has the bar set really high. The addition of keys and percussion creates a tasty backdrop that still allow the four core instruments to breathe with Jels vocals taking the wheel, from soaring vocal melodies, fun twists and turns and highly emotive and passionate intensity.

Opening track Criminal (a radio favourite) sets the tone for the record, kicking straight in with a Pearl Jam -Ten, arena rock riff with a grunge wrapping. It flows from distorted to clean tones with ease with Jels signature vocal style ebbing and flowing in perfect harmony. Featuring previous releases like Sneaky which introduces the band's first work with Haver and Absentee which is an incredibly emotional ballad with all the hooks and feel. Curlys continue to go from strength to strength, having mastered their identity and delivering their craft at an international standard. Be sure to catch Curlys on tour throughout 2024 to further understand the essence of the Curlys Jewels.


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

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