In 2015, Jesse Sloan, a longtime member of the Kent music scene, decided he wanted to start a band around some songs he’d written apart from his other projects. He texted his buddy Dan to see if he wanted to come over and try playing bass for a few of the songs, and he agreed. Several hours later, a different Dan showed up much to Sloan’s surprise. 

Apparently, Sloan accidentally texted another Dan on his contact list, one who also happened happened to play bass. Sloan simply shrugged, took it as a sign, and the band Curtail was born.

The Akron-based group consists of Sloan on guitar and lead vocals, Eric Sandt on drums, the aforementioned Dan Corby on bass, and Ben Hendricks on lead guitar and vocals. The members are well-seasoned veterans of the northeast Ohio music scene, having played in several solid Akron-Kent groups like Bethesda, Annabel, Parting, and Heavenly Creatures. 

Last year, in the hard-headed rustbelt DIY tradition, the group recorded a debut album themselves. 

“We took our time on this record,” Sloan declared, saying the recording process took more than a year of work to get it sounding the way they wanted. 

Their painstaking effort shows. All Your Luck a fantastic record.

Curtail shows shades of the tight, melodic craftsmanship of seminal groups like The Replacements, Smashing Pumpkins, and the Pixies, but without all the self-indulgence and unnecessary flash. You get the clear message that every member of the band could show off with impressive solos and fills if they wanted to, but they’d rather just play the damn song and play it well. Their gritty disdain for frivolous nonsense and frills is apparent in their performance.

Sloan’s lyrics, powerfully delivered and exquisitely harmonized to taste, stand up to the music as well. They seem to just sigh, “Goddman, that was a long day.” It’s hard not to relate to simple yet strikingly alienated lines like “You make that face when you’re alone” and “Shrug it off until last call.” Minimal and honest, the band’s words cut deep.

Sloan says he prefers it that way. “I like sad shit, man,” Sloan shrugged, grinning. “I was a huge emo kid, I was a huge ‘90s alt-rock kid.”

All in all, All Your Luck, the band’s freshman album, is a triumphant and declarative debut. “I’m very proud of it,” Sloan asserts. “Also, very excited for what’s next.” He says Curtail is already getting ready to record another album. They’re currently scouting studios with the intention of producing it themselves. Essentially, if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix.

In addition, the band has a self-produced music video coming out soon for standout track  “Come Around,” along with a couple b-sides from the record coming out as a single through Skeletal Lightning Records.

Until then, All Your Luck should tide fans over until new material arrives. It’s a hard record to pull out of your playlist. And if you still want more, catch Curtail live in Akron at Musica on Halloween for a performance that hits just as hard.

You can listen to Curtail on Bandcamp and Spotify and follow the band on Instagram and Twitter at @curtailmusic. You can also hear an interview with Sloan at pressurelife.com/pressurecast.