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[The Epics] The Cure: The Head on the Door

By Vishal Gandhi | March 14, 2006

[The Epics] The Cure: The Head on the Door

The Cure is often lumped as music for depressed, lonely souls that are allergic to sunlight. While they have written some of the most wistful albums – the trilogy of ‘Pornography’, ‘Disintegration’ and ‘Bloodflowers’ were intentional explorations of dark themes and poignant relationships — some of their biggest hits have been gorgeous alternative pop songs like “Boys Don’t Cry�?, “Pictures of You�? and “Friday I’m In Love�?. The gothic image has just as much to do with front-man Robert Smith’s brazen hair and make-up as it does with their somber music.

‘The Head on the Door’ finds The Cure striking a balance between their pop sensibilities and gothic leanings while also managing to test new ground. Reinvigorated by new members Porl Thompson (guitar, keyboards) and Boris Williams (drums, percussion) and the return of under-rated bassist Simon Gallup, the playing is tight and the song-writing crisp.

“In Between Days�? might be the peppiest song about a break-up featuring one of Robert Smith’s finest vocals. Then comes the surprisingly East-Asian tinged “Kyoto Song�? while the acoustically driven “The Blood�? recalls the band’s first single “Killing an Arab�?. The start-stop “Six Different Ways�? which is apparently about being in love with six girls at once is delightful synth-pop of rolling percussion and spliced keyboard licks. “Push�? is a towering highlight, the guitar riff and Gallup’s pounding bass building and building into a crescendo before the vocals make an entry half-way into the song.

In “The Baby Screams�?, Smith asks heaven to fill up his dreams and “strike me dead�? — a pensive wish for an upbeat song. “Close to Me�? with hand-claps, steady bass, sax and Smith’s whispers is another one of those lilting pop gems that’s followed by the contemplative “A Night Like This�?. The bass heavy “Screw�? is again a playful track with lots of reverb and delay thrown in for good effect. Album closer “Sinking�? is vintage Cure in its gothic beauty, moody vocals and gloomy lyrics.

‘Disintegration’ might be considered as the definitive goth-rock masterpiece but it’s on ‘The Head on the Door’ that The Cure masterfully combine melodic pop, dirgy rock and odd bits of experiments to achieve their creative peak.

Comments

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  1. March 14, 2006, 2:43 pm fuzz

    nice review. to the point. makes me wanna get a copy.

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