A year since releasing the brilliant Wearing the Strings EP, Curelight Wounds releases the Constant Mind EP. It is a blistering listen, with four tracks, none longer than 2:54 each, which machinegun into your speakers. For the uninitiated, Curelight Wounds is the solo project of Steve Schwadron from Dead Leaf Echo. Schwadron plays all the instruments on this fuzzy, blasting, triumphantly defiant set of tracks that play on the edges of dense haze and drilling beats.
Constant Mind begins with “Sew It Back”. Pounding drums are companions to moaning, fuzzed out guitar and gristly vocals. Taking a cue from shoegaze circles, the vocals are buried deep in the mix, as if Schwadron were buried in the tumult of swirling walls of sound. It gives the track an urgent feel and communicates an almost claustrophobic atmosphere. This is punkgaze at its finest: explosive, defiant, and deeply emotive. “Hot House” slows the tempo down a bit with the same urgent, fuzzy vocals but they create a cadence like they are pulling the drums and bass along. The guitars eddy about, creating a whirlpool of noise. As the track moves towards its brief end, layers move aside until the fade out.
“Distant Song” has an aural landscape with bendy guitars that play with out of tune, dissonant moments. As I’ve said on other occasions, Schwadron’s bass tones are just perfection and it’s no different here. There is more of a shoegaze infusion here but that punk, DIY feel never disappears. Angst and grit really do populate this EP and it’s powerfully done. “Hard Sand” is another driving track with a repetitive vocal lyric. Schwadron repeats “It’s Just the Way It Goes” over and over and it really is hypnotic. Guitars growl and high hat adds various textures. It’s a brilliant end to this all too short EP.
Schwadron’s brand of punkgaze is electric. Gritty and swirling with a tempest of angst, Constant Mind is just what the doctor ordered for our times. Powerful, punchy, and no-holds-bar, Schwadron demonstrates that he’s a true talent both as a writer and as an all around musician. Download a free copy at the Bandcamp link below!