Tons of bands shine on CD but lack luster (not to mention lust) when thrown on a stage. With Curious Yellow, it's the opposite: The group's 2003 debut EP, 1-2-3 Go Go Go, in no way preps you for the piercing incandescence of its live show. The disc's five songs were decent, if not wholly convincing -- exercises in arena-sized indie rock that drew from such oddly disparate sources as Smashing Pumpkins, Modest Mouse and Suede. The music was catchy on the outside but a little hollow in the middle -- the sound of a band still finding its voice and footing in an uneven terrain of moods and influences. In front of an audience, though, the quartet is able to transmute its sometimes awkward material into a blinding beam of pure rock. Mammoth riffs trample across epic melodies while singer/guitarist Adam Lancaster's squeaky, shaky vocals -- which, recorded, can border on annoying -- are outshone by his spastically passionate guitar-slinging and gesticulation. Curious Yellow will open for Phantom Planet and Steriogram on Tuesday, April 27, at the Gothic Theatre before taking a break to record its first full-length in May. If the foursome can funnel even a fraction of its live brilliance into the studio, the new album should be something worth getting curious about.
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