Imagine, if you will, the combination of experimental rock, wacky theatrical antics, a bit of cheeky brass and some sinister vocals and you’ll be some way towards imagining the delight that is Leeds six-piece Sir Curse.
In fact, the band more succinctly describe their intriguing offering as ‘Kate Bush joining the Circus with System Of A Down.’ In other words, totally bonkers but utterly brilliant.
The sextet began with Lyndsay Dale (vocals), Ellen Davis (keyboard), Henry Broomfield (drums) and Eric Lock (bass) meeting at the Leeds Collect of Music, then formed the band when they met Bill O’Dwyer (guitar) and Joe Martin (trumpet) after uni.
Inspired by the likes of The Brothers Grimm fairy tales and American Horror Story, the result is edgy, lively and certainly never dull – honing a sound that they describe to us as “creepy, energetic and captivating.” As Lyndsay puts it: “Ellen and I started writing this dark and creepy music in our second year at university. We kinda knew we had something different when people couldn’t describe what genre it was.”
They made their entrance on the music stage with debut single Tarot, which was released back in March. It opens with jaunty piano in a lively intro then drops into Lyndsay’s engaging vocals “I can read your palm if you like, Every single line I won’t tell you no lies, I’ve practiced all my nosebleeds, You;ll see the future’s up my sleeve, And I know every secret that you keep, And every word you whisper tell me what you wanna be.”
Big triumphant trumpets jump in as we launch into a jaunty, wild chorus that drops into a bass solo and builds up to another catchy verse. A second chorus ends with repeating trumpet notes then a descending piano and backing vocals duet then Lyndsay’s winding “nah-nah-nah” vocals are answered by trumpet retorts to bring it to a lively ending. Tarot is jumpy, edgy, random, deliciously catchy and just a little on the creepy side but so, so more-ish we just can’t stop listening to it.
On the track, Lyndsay explains: “This past month has been crazy! We’ve had such a good reception and people are really enjoying it. Our launch gig was that best one yet. So many people turned up to dance and sing. We couldn’t have asked for a better kick off. I threw fake flowers out into the audience at the end and hit someone right in the face… so that was something different! Bill terrified the audience by screaming into the mic so hard I thought he was gonna burst.
“If you haven’t heard Tarot yet, it’s a good idea for what we sound like as a whole! It’s bouncy, unusual and full of energy, which could instantly describe us as a band too! It’s about a witch reading tarot cards for a stranger and seeing a future she couldn’t have imagined would relate to that person. She’s so cocky about her ability to read people and then in walks a surprise and she’s delighted by it!”
Tarot is also the first song that the band wrote together, so it feels like the perfect release for them to introduce themselves to the world. As Lyndsay tells us: “I think knowing that we have something out there that we can direct people to when they ask what we do, that’s a big source of happiness for me! ‘Oh you’re in a band? Do you have anything out?’ Yeah actually we do!”
The best way of describing the Sir Curse sound is certainly theatrical rock, which will unfurl as we hear more of the band. As Lyndsay explains: “When you listen to the full set there’s a story throughout where you follow these characters we play. There’s a real mix of musical and visual performance. You come out of it like ‘Wow, I was not expecting that!’ It’s loud, catchy and weird.”
And when it comes to the themes that inspire this wackiness, you’re expecting something freaky but it’s actually all just love and roses. Wait, we’re kidding, of course it’s pretty weird and wonderful. As Lyndsay tells us: “Ellen listens to a lot of gypsy jazz and watches dark films/programmes like American Horror Story. When she writes she normally turns off the lights, and lights candles or incense. I normally get inspired by books and fairy-tales. That’s probably our main theme. Fairy-tales that never get their happy ending, mental health issues and murder…”
And their musical influences are equally all over the place. From the aforementioned Kate Bush and System, through to Melanie Martinez and old school Panic! At The Disco – which is more than prevalent in Tarot – while they also do a cover version of Ariana Grande’s Thank You, Next. See, told you, totally bonkers. As Lyndsay puts it: “We all have so many diverse musical tastes so when we combine them, it creates something unique that just works.”
The band just supported Hands Off Gretel in Manchester and you can see them for yourself at 360 Club in Leeds on 12 June then at Boomtown Fair on 7 August. More info on their gigs is here. Sir Curse also plan to record another single and video before the end of the year.