Time is a precious commodity these days, and so I’m afraid that records I’d normally like to post on are often getting lost in the shuffle. Case in point: Skin Behind The Shroud, the last release from Halifax-based duo Cursed Arrows. For some reason, I assumed we were caught up with the doings of Halifax-based husband & wife duo Ry N. And Jack E. Stanley, but they are clearly too prolific for us. They were kind enough to do a “Deeper Into Music” post for the release before this one, The Madness of Crowds, but it seems we’ve yet to post on their last EP.
But that’s a wrong that’s easy to right, so let’s do so. If you’re familiar with Cursed Arrows, then you’ll certainly recognize the sound found on this tape (the EP’s a free download, but it’s physical form is on cassette). The duo has always employed a riffy, garage-blues-influenced sound as the backdrop for their vocals, which alternate between Ry N. and Jack E. taking the lead, and often feature the two layered together.
That formula is certainly in effect here, but there are some tweaks. “Empty Memory Bank” opens things with a more meandering pace before evolving into a more menacing, hard-rock influenced sound, while “Carefree Chemicals” sets a gritty, surprisingly breakneck pace from the outset and takes the foot off the gas only for a couple brief moments as the duo sing about the price one can pay to try and fit in. “In For The Kill” might be my favourite song on the EP as they seem to revisit the 90′s for a wall of heavy noise accented by guitar solos and a melodic hook. They aren’t afraid to experiment and throw a few curveballs either, as the spoken word intro on “Close To The Exit” and the synthesized drums on “One In The Blue” provide a couple of interesting touches.
So then, if you’re new to Cursed Arrows, or slept on Skin Behind The Shroud like I did, you should go get yourself up to speed right now.