In Curseswith Beautiful Chorus, SKIP, AmiAm, Ill Trybe,
Saturday, April 14
The Plaza Live
This latest spin-off from the always-active first family of Orlando hip-hop, Solillaquists of Sound, is an actual full-band project fronted by lead singer Alexandrah Sarton. A noted vocalist outside of SoS, Sarton teamed up with guitarist Sean Kantrowitz while the two were roommates to write and form this decidedly non-rap assembly, now filled out by Aaron Mellick (bass), Robby Copeland (drums) and Beef Wellington (keys).
In sharp (and probably strongly intentional) contrast to the empty, over-pumped bombast of the popular airwaves, In Curses' gently organic sound soothes and embraces through a crystalline blend of soul, pop, soft rock, jazz and indie-rock spindles. It's a light and expansive approach without being fluff.
The sun around which all this orbits are the vocals, as reliable a bedrock as it gets in Sarton's airy, balletic and polished singing. The vocal aspect has a harmonic dynamism that's supple yet taut, complex yet fluid. It's a big enough emphasis, in fact, that In Curses' formal live debut and album release will feature Beautiful Chorus, a 12-woman voice squad, to back up Sarton on harmony.
“More Time” and “Moon Water” are standouts built on melodies gorgeous and brisk. Meanwhile, “Reaching Field” and the organ-rich “Mister Gunn” are panoramic travel soundtracks. And the summery “Only So Much You Can Say” is a warm soul breeze featuring some silky scratching courtesy of decorated turntablist DJ SPS.
Instrumentally, the clean music here frames Sarton's singing with just enough reverence but maintains enough presence to feel like a real group, not just a diva's backing band. But the vocals are the group's pulse and identity, and Sarton shines without any vulgar belting or acrobatics. After all, a real lady doesn't tell you she's a lady, she just is.