From Audiophile Audition:
The Curios – Pillow Book – Fresh!/Reference Recordings
Northern California folk band shines on new release
The Curios – Pillow Book – Fresh!/Reference Recordings FR-701, 61:41 ****:
… The band members share a passion for creating music that resonates with authenticity and have been together for thirteen years.
Pillow Book represents a variety of observations on life’s struggles, ironies and complexities. Fifteen songs, primarily written by Nancy Hall, boast an assortment of folk instrumentation, gliding across tempos and musical contexts. The album was recorded live with minimal overdubs. The simplicity of economic challenge evokes a sardonic whimsy on “Sailor On A Windless Sea” The bouncy ukulele (Hall), harmonica (Parvin), and skillful bass (Kerwin) work in counterpoint to the drudgery of getting through a week (“Monday’s a coma and Tuesday’s a dirge..”). Hall’s voice has a natural jazzy tone, and carries emotional nuance. “Beautiful” arranged for guitar and piano, allows the vocalist to capture an uncomplicated love ballad in a drifting lyrical outline. The addition of a cello is a nice touch. Relationships are scrutinized on “Sweetness”, as the bridge is augmented by Hammond B3 and electric guitar. The darker side of heartache is explored on the melancholic “Mean Streak (The Knife Thrower’s Wife)”…
Whether celebrating the prevalence of nature (“Cherries On The Ground”), fidelity (“Always Be Your Girl”), or nostalgia (“Trampoline”), the compositions always maintain an organic resonance, fused by the expressive vocals, and discerning musical coloration. Pillow Book should introduce this group to a much wider audience…