Spells and Curses – Suadade

Spells and Curses Live

I love listening to an album with a centralized theme because this topic tends to pull me in. It makes me consider how the songs work together and how the theme drives them. How this theme is portrayed can vary, from the song names, the lyrics, or the album’s title. The latter is what pulls together New York band Spells and Curses’ album, “Suadade.” 

The band unofficially formed in 2013, as vocalist and guitarist Arnold mourned after a loss, expressing himself by writing, recording, and producing music—music that would later become “Suadade.” The album is filled with a mixture of alternative rock guitar and synthesized sounds, and after his happiness returned, he released the album under the name “Spells and Curses.” Later, the group’s bassist JD and drummer Alan would join him, but as I said before, “Suadade” was created from Arnold’s feelings and those feelings encompass the album’s theme, beautifully pulling everything together. This audio spectacle is quite impressive, especially when you understand the purpose and origins of it. 

The word “saudade” has to do with feelings of melancholy. Spells and Curses seems to try and redefine this word at a new level through music, even changing the word’s spelling. This album definitely covers those feelings, as the first track, “2013,” involves a series of murmurs and blended conversations as the New Year draws closer. The countdown ends, the ball drops, and then an alarm clock goes off. A person wakes up the morning after and pulls out their phone to check their messages. This situation fills the entirety of the following tracks, as the messages play a mixture of soft, guitar tones and what can only be described as backwards speech. The words spoken in reverse give the impression of incantations being performed. As you listen, you feel sad and strange at the same time, which turns into satisfaction by the end. It’s almost as if your emotions are affected magically as the songs play. 

Arnold does a spectacular job using his own feelings to charge the feelings of others. Because he really knows how it feels to mourn and deal with sorrow, the tracks affect you that much more. I encourage people to try it out and see what sensations they encounter throughout it.

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