Curb by Nickelback

Really, this one's a dead moose before I've even got my stick out. How could an indie rock critic like myself, in good conscience, not only review a Nickelback record, but give it anything more than an Eh? Could my upbringing around the stench of modern rock radio have tainted me enough to give Curb a vaguely positive review? This one sticks in my head because of its odd circumstances: it pleases no one. Nickelback fans (like much of my family) consider it too heavy and raw to care, while their detractors hate it because of the names of the people behind it. It's unfortunate, because Curb is a window into an indie Nickelback, something at the very least curious, if not worthy of credit itself.

Curb is heavier than much of the band's discography, given to more of an alt-metal and groove metal sound than what came later. Chad Kroeger's cousin Brandon features on drums here and actually does a pretty decent job coloring up the band's sound with his fills. Chad himself hadn't yet developed his taste for whores, but while the lyrics are certainly darker and more abstract, I imagine his voice will still turn off anyone who isn't into indigestion. Nevertheless, the group pulls out some surprisingly good performances for a debut outing: "Pusher" thunders at its climax, "Detangler" jingles, and "Fly", despite being Nirvana-lite, haunts with its childish morbidity. But really, you've already made your mind up on it, most likely. It surprised me though, so uh, give it a try sometime?


Essential: "Pusher", "Detangler", "Fly"
Quintessential: "Sea Groove"
Non-essential: "Window Shopper"

Rating: Good
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