On March 8, 1992, UK based alternative rock band, Curve, dropped their debut studio album. Aptly titled Doppelgänger, the album would set the bar for shoegaze bands everywhere, with names like Garbage taking a leaf from their distortion-driven book.
Pitchfork Media even ranked the album at number 40 in its list of “The 50 Best Shoegaze Albums of All Time” back in 2016.
Shoegazing is a sub genre of indie rock that emerged in the UK during the 80’s that combines elements of alternative rock and net-psychedelia. It’s most notable features are its use of guitar distortion and feedback, which are notable features of Curve’s sound.
“Already Yours” begins the album on a very contemplative note, delving into the barriers of the human psyche, and how everything is truly within reach as long as one is able to overcome their own mental walls. Life itself is seen as “a gift from God, a small creation, A prized possession without limitations” through the lens of this track. Stylistically, the droning guitar and surreal vocals induce an almost trance-like state in the listener, which is all too fitting given the established tone. This isn’t a song to rock out to, it’s a song to think to. The goal is to guide listeners through their moment of introspection, and hopefully leave them with a grander sense of their own abilities once they come out the other side.
“Wish You Dead” is a darker song with a catchy melody that lands somewhere between twisted and deceptively upbeat. Tackling the all too familiar subject of relationships jaded with ulterior motives that never venture beyond a certain point, “Wish You Dead” recounts what it’s like to put up with the bare bones of a bond for the sake of not being left alone.
The album’s title track, “Doppelgänger” is absolutely hypnotic, with a shot of danger behind the vocals that gets the adrenaline pumping. Rhythmic and dark, the occasional off-note plays well into the theme of hatred and being hated. The singer believes she is doing everything right, and looking “right,” and just wants to be accepted and loved by the subject, but it seems the efforts are for naught.
“Sandpit” closes the album out on a poetic note. The lyrics paint vivid images while the beautiful vocals ring clear. While Curve has an undeniable way with lyrics, this song is particularly poetic in its word choice and flow. Asking all the right questions, “Sandpit” ends similarly to the way “Already Yours” began, with a message.
Doppelgänger is an intriguing album worth listening to, and not just once. The songs so much to be appreciated, from the instrumentals, to the lyrical stylings and presentation, it’s clear a lot went into creating each and every one of them.