Around the late nineties/early 2000’s indie rap hit somewhat of a creative peak when labels such as Def Jux, Anticon, and Mush Records were carving a new, thought-provoking path outside the mainstream. In 2003, the aforementioned Mush Records, released ‘Lost in the Real Sky’ by Melbourne based alternative hip hop outfit Curse Ov Dialect. The album sounded like nothing else happening in the local Australian hip hop scene at the time, so the idea that Curse were carrying the torch for Australia in this thriving new scene felt apt and well deserved. Cut to 2021 and there is still nothing that sounds quite like them. The unique mix of traditional folk and psychedelic samples from all corners of the globe, and their sharp-tongued, political raps is still at the core of their sound. And with the troubling rise of right-wing populism in recent years, their anti-racist fury and multicultural ideals are needed now more than ever.
The groups output has slowed over the years, their previous album, 2016’s solid ‘Twisted Strangers’ came after a 7-year gap, and ‘Dark Days Bright Nights’ another 5 years later. And while ‘Twisted Strangers’ felt like a reintroduction of sorts, the urgency of this new material sounds as though it was cooked up in a frenzy of creativity, the musical and lyrical themes at boiling point.
Lyrically, members Volk Makedonski and Raceless do the heavy lifting, but all members make significant contributions, as do the guests, the most memorable coming from U.S. rapper and former Shapeshifter, Radioinactive on ‘Patterns and Regiments’, a nice nod to the early Mush days where both acts once shared a label.
Not ones to surrender to the musical tropes of the day, especially in the trap-heavy hip hop scene of late, Curse instead continue to mine the rich depths of their unique sound, a move that gives their discography a timeless quality, no matter where you drop the needle chronologically speaking. ‘Dark Days Bright Nights’ will certainly appeal to the heads, and hopefully gain a new generation of fans unwilling to settle for generic, flavourless music.