Personnel: Edward Ka-Spel (vocals); Phillip Knight (tapes).
Although the Legendary Pink Dots' discography runs back to 1981, 1983's Curse LP marks the point of intersection between the factors that will really generate the LPD sound: a song-focused set (unlike Basilisk, for instance) with a good balance between pop arrangements and sonic experiments, and decent sound quality (unlike on Brighter Now or Only Dreaming). Many fans will prefer making Curse their furthest reach into the group's catalog than going deeper, into what could be labeled "very early material." This album yielded the fan-favorite "Love Puppets," already bearing the mark of a classic LPD song: ornamented imagery, somber double-entendres, Gothic yet witty arrangements, and Edward Ka-Spel's "deadpan doll" delivery. Other highlights include "Arzhklahh Olgevezh," which remained a live staple for a while, "Waving at the Aeroplanes," and "Doll's House." The only experimental or psychedelic track is the closing 12-minute "Stoned Obituary," a strange convoluted piece blending separate song materials and instrumental passages, almost in progressive rock fashion. Some parts of this track bear inferior sound quality, but it still works out as a whole, although at a minor level, compared to later, more exuberant epics. In fact, because of its form, treatment, and place in the group's history, "Stoned Obituary" could be likened to Marillion's "Grendel." Out of the raw beginnings of the group and the early tape experiments, Curse rises as an artistically successful album, already pointing straight at the Dots' best '80s LPs (The Tower, Asylum, Any Day Now). ~ François Couture