Premiere: The Curls’ “i can’t tell u” Has a Lot Going On, and That’s a Good Thing

i can't tell u - The Curls
Chicago art rock outfit The Curls are typically quirky and colorful on their latest psych pop single – a ballsy mixture of sounds that seemingly shouldn’t work together, but do.

— —

The first words of art rock sextet The Curls’ new single “i can’t tell u” are an enticing contradiction – “Everything comes to an end, everything circles around again,” sings the Chicago band’s frontwoman, Anna Holmquist. Her voice is airy and high as she vocalizes the contrasting statements, but it hooks a listener’s ears and forces them to consider the concepts of ending and beginning to be more similar than typically perceived. Yes, things end – but sometimes that conclusion is merely a part of a pattern. And having that realization is characteristically weird, just like The Curls themselves, whose most recent snippet of upcoming, independently released LP SUPER UNIT sounds like an ambitiously scattered, psych pop-inspired Arcade Fire.

everything comes to an end
everything circles around again
but what is in your heart,
do you believe what’s true
and how can I begin to convince you?
Listen: “i can’t tell u” – The Curls

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “i can’t tell u,” The Curls’ brand new release. The band, consisting of Holmquist, Mick Fansler (guitar), Jenny Marshall (synth/trumpet), Jay Poyhonen (bass), Rami Atassi (guitar) and Carl Swoveland (drums), says that “I can’t tell u” is an exploration of narcissism – not one’s own, but that of a friend or partner whose inflated ego is detrimental to their personal connections with others. “(The song) explores what it’s like to be close with selfish people, and how their narcissism often dominates the relationship entirely, leaving the other party feeling ignored and deprived,” says The Curls.

i can't tell u - The Curls

i can’t tell u – The Curls

Shut your windows lock your doors
What are you complaining for?
In the end it’s all the same
In your narcissistic brain

Beyond its purpose as an examination of someone else’s self-absorption, “I can’t tell u” is laced with reasonable, yet comedic frustration. Lines like “Oh Please just shut up for once, why do you never ask me anything?” and “What are you complaining for?/ In the end it’s all the same in your narcissistic brain” are shouted over the lushness of charismatic trumpets and bass guitars that technically shouldn’t work together, but somehow do, and vibrantly so. The best part of the song is Holmquist declaring a sort of lockdown just seconds before Marshall’s trumpets sound off, like an emergency horn in the distance. Indeed, this is how The Curls operate as self-proclaimed “lords of entertainment” – turning mismatched pieces into loveable, quirky amalgamations. This particular creation sounds like a step-up in strangeness from the outfit’s previous single, “Prickly Feelings,” because of its buzzing spunk, and if fans of The Curls are lucky, then they’ll be gifted with plenty more colorful attitude on the band’s forthcoming full-length.

— — — —

i can't tell u - The Curls

Connect to The Curls on
Facebook, Bandcamp, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
photo © The Curls

:: Listen to The Curls ::

Sydney is a staff writer at Atwood Magazine. She studies journalism in San Diego, California, and mostly reports on arts and culture. Talk to her on Twitter (@syderature) or Instagram (@syd.oh).