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Offline revolt

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The Cure and the British press
« on: July 29, 2008, 13:48:57 »
The Cure have a long history with the British press, which is no big surprise, since they are a famous British band after all.
In those pre-'Three Imaginay Boys' there was quite a bit of hype created around the band, to the point that they suddenly started getting sold-out concerts before releasing any record. By the time the first album was released, however, the first press bashings came along the way. And from then on the Cure's British media reception has never been exactly a 'love story'.

Anyway, the purpose of this thread is to collect album / single/ concert reviews that have appeared on British magazines and newspapers across the years. The idea here is to highlight SPECIFIC things, good and bad, that have been written about The Cure, not the complete articles. However, if any of you have links to complete articles, then, by any means, feel free to post them here.


Offline revolt

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Re: The Cure and the Brittsh press
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2008, 13:59:54 »
I have already posted here what Steve Sutherland (Melody Maker) wrote in 1982 about the Pornography tour, but here it is again:

Seldom have three young people in pursuit of a clutch of aimless atmospheres achieved so little with such panache.

The Cure – that’s a joke. More like a symptom.

The Cure are three updated Al Stewart bedsitter boy students squeezing their pimples and translating Camus prose into Shelleyan stanzas.


David Hill, of the New Musical Express, was not particularly appreciative of the Pornography album, either:

It won't improve your social life or relieve you of your load, and this music proves an antidote to nothing much at all, though it may clear your system.

This record portrays and parades its currency of exposed futility and naked fear with so few distractions or adornments and so little sense of shame. It really piles it on.



(Note: all these quotes can be found in the 'Never Enough' Cure biography.)


Offline revolt

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Re: The Cure and the Brittsh press
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2008, 15:56:11 »

David Hill, of the New Musical Express, was not particularly appreciative of the Pornography album, either:

It won't improve your social life or relieve you of your load, and this music proves an antidote to nothing much at all, though it may clear your system.

This record portrays and parades its currency of exposed futility and naked fear with so few distractions or adornments and so little sense of shame. It really piles it on.


I have just managed to take a look at the original article, and actually, taken as a whole, David Hill's review is quite positive. After the already mentioned sentences, he says:

Here is an album written from the knife-edge of despair, and as a piece of craftamanship in expressive sound, it is a very big, very harrowing achievement.

I feel that Pornography was not designed to be objectified or probed, but taken en bloc as a very dense wash of emotional colour, portraying one soul on a leash, fighting back the panic in the dark. And as such, it really works. The confessional returns, fragile, frightened, horribly forlorn, and very finely drawn. A killer of its kind.




(Note: a whole lot of scanned articles can be found at http://www.picturesofyou.us. This article in particular is here: http://www.picturesofyou.us/82/82-5-8-nme-pornreview.htm)



Offline revolt

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2008, 12:40:34 »
Here are a couple more from 1982.

Concernig the "Pornography" album, Adam Sweeting from the Melody Maker said the following:

This time around, I’m hard pressed to any redeeming features. It was possible to view “Faith” as The Cure working single-mindedly to stake out some territory of their own, refusing to be hurried by New Romantics or cult vendors of any stripe. And at least they threw in “Doubt” and “Primary” as breaks in the clouds.
But “Pornography” refuses to move on, replaces self-sufficiency with a refusal to peak through the curtains into the street once in a while, and finally plummets like a leaking submarine into depths unfathomable by man. Frankly it’s unhealthy.


There’s precious little melody to speak of. The opener, “One Hundred Years”, is perhaps the least depressing track and is merely intensely gloomy. (…) In isolation it’s not a bad song. Taken as part of “Pornography” as a whole, it’s merely another shred of incriminating evidence.


And Record Mirror printed the following words about a 1982 concert:

I’m standing 53 miles west of civilization, watching The Cure having their **** with mankind and I can think of NOTHING MORE DREADFUL.

Quite simply, the Cure never change. Every song, every shuffle, every belch is “faith”fully recorded by Robert Smith and his boys to a backdrop of “relevant” slides and colours.

Such little things as style, flair and imagination have no place in a Cure dictionary. They are utterly, completely irrelevant.

Offline revolt

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2008, 12:06:48 »
Here are some extracts of 1981 British reviews of "Faith"...


Ray Lowry, from the NME, has some nice things to say about the playing and the production but then goes on to suggest different careers to the The Cure members ( :-D ):

Young English groups have created a whole new songwriting category known to experts as Grammar School Angst, and this collection represents a major contribution to the genre. It’s very well played, beautifully recorded, and says absolutely nothing meaningful in a fairly depressive way. One unrecorded aspect of the present government’s economic policies is that thousands of young people are forming bands when they would really be more suited to chartered accountancy or a career in market gardening, say.

I just can’t understand what the driving force is behind albums like this, A burning desire to get in a recording studio and sing lines like “The innocence of children, dressed in white and slowly dreaming, stops all time”, in an anaemic English whine, is a force I cannot comprehend.


Adam Sweeting, from the Melody Maker, liked it (this is the same critic that was not very fond of "Pornography"):

Mostly, “Faith” is a sophisticated exercise in atmosphere and production (by Mike Hedges and the band). It’s gloomy but frequently majestic, never using brute force where auto-suggestion will do.

You may not love it, but you’ll become addicted to it.


Mike Nicholls, from the Record Mirror, really would have liked to throw The Cure in the garbage, or something like that (  :shock: ):

The Cure remain stuck in the hackneyed doom mongering that should have died with Joy Division.

(…) are lost in the maze of their spineless meanderings… hollow, shallow, pretentious, meaningless, self-important and bereft of any real heart and soul.


Offline japanesebaby

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2008, 21:14:08 »
Mike Nicholls, from the Record Mirror, really would have liked to throw The Cure in the garbage, or something like that (  :shock: ):

The Cure remain stuck in the hackneyed doom mongering that should have died with Joy Division.

despite all the constant comparisons/references to joy division that the cure had to bear in those early days, not all critics agreed with mike nichols:
for instance, john gill had more insight when he wrote in 'sounds', april '81:



If we didn’t know better, we could all throw rocks with the words ‘Joy Division’ printed all the way through at The Cure. Fact is, course, they were doing this sort of thing - and minus the distasteful wordplay with deathcamp imagery - years before. Perhaps someone should phone the insanity squad?

Enough! The Cure are above such puerile games of grammar and solipsism. At best (Joy)/Division offered an unhealthy, vicarious snapshot of the darkness (but how soon everyone wore their badge!) and the press, poor leeches living their lives by proxy, flocked to their falsie nerve-ends.

The Cure pretend to no such Genetesque aesthetic of degradation. They would never "die for you". ‘Faith’ has exactly that; beyond the surface of cynicism, this glance of genius glows with positivism and blares from its boot-soles upwards.



"the cure would never die for you" - so at least gill got it.


the review continued:


‘Faith’ is hardly new. ‘Primary’ goes fast, its phased binary beat slicing somewhere between Neu and the Doctors of Madness. ‘Doubt’ also takes it at a fair lick, a classy lyrical dance number. Neither of them are particularly historic, but both are infused with an epic quality by The Cure’s sense of strong, haunting melody.

The rest commutes between modern-day Dusseldorf and the Sixties of the Floyd at the Middle Earth and the Doors in Miami. There’s a Neu-ish sense of smudged melody, soft tones flowing around a languorous, groaning bass. Pieces like ‘Other Voices’, a chill offshore dub written for a spaghetti western, and the seductive cathedral voices of ‘All Cats Are Grey’, with a ritual drum beat I could whirl to all night, have an overwhelming authentic atmosphere. Like ‘The End’, they have some strange sense of importance, of personal commitment, that I can’t quite fathom. It’s almost as though listening to ‘Faith’ requires a personal act of involvement, the reward being a sense of belonging.

That may sound completely wacko, but ‘Faith’ wins. It swings like a warm summer night, its warm breezes and rarefied beat transcend everyday dance music. But whatever symbols I pin on its entrancing map, the only steps you’ll take here are those of an irresistible dance to music like brilliant light.

And a word to the wise: ‘Faith’ and its constituent parts trade under a namemark of broadly ‘religious’ cynicism, dismissing catechism, belief and observance. It may (should?) knock down some icons, but you should read between its lines. Reverse psychology may be passe, but ‘Faith’ uses these as a front for its own deep-rooted hope and belief. As Smith repeats at the end of the title track, "There’s nothing left but faith." Without that they couldn’t have made this album. This is life and I want more of it.



(the only thing i don't really get is how come 'other voices' sounded to him like it was written for a spaghetti western!  :smth017 :-P)
 
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Offline japanesebaby

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2008, 21:21:31 »
a few random "rough ones" from the very early times:


THE CURE: Killing An Arab.
Horror-shock-bore banal drivel of the very worst kind. A pathetic attempt. I hate it.


huh? :smth095


another one:

THE CURE: 'Grinding Halt' (Fiction)
You'd think their LP was a Warner's job, so rich is the sleeve. I guess they must be making money, but they won't score in Texas with (half-way to paradise) semi-songs such as this.


 :smth017


(unfortunately i don't know the source press/papers or who wrote these. all i have are these old crumbling pieces of newspaper cuttings, no source info.)
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine

Offline Cure Freak

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2008, 02:55:57 »
I came across this..


 :smth011

Offline revolt

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2008, 11:19:25 »
Mike Nicholls, from the Record Mirror, really would have liked to throw The Cure in the garbage, or something like that (  :shock: ):

The Cure remain stuck in the hackneyed doom mongering that should have died with Joy Division.

despite all the constant comparisons/references to joy division that the cure had to bear in those early days, not all critics agreed with mike nichols:
for instance, john gill had more insight when he wrote in 'sounds', april '81:



If we didn’t know better, we could all throw rocks with the words ‘Joy Division’ printed all the way through at The Cure. Fact is, course, they were doing this sort of thing - and minus the distasteful wordplay with deathcamp imagery - years before. Perhaps someone should phone the insanity squad?

Enough! The Cure are above such puerile games of grammar and solipsism. At best (Joy)/Division offered an unhealthy, vicarious snapshot of the darkness (but how soon everyone wore their badge!) and the press, poor leeches living their lives by proxy, flocked to their falsie nerve-ends.

The Cure pretend to no such Genetesque aesthetic of degradation. They would never "die for you". ‘Faith’ has exactly that; beyond the surface of cynicism, this glance of genius glows with positivism and blares from its boot-soles upwards.



"the cure would never die for you" - so at least gill got it.


the review continued:


‘Faith’ is hardly new. ‘Primary’ goes fast, its phased binary beat slicing somewhere between Neu and the Doctors of Madness. ‘Doubt’ also takes it at a fair lick, a classy lyrical dance number. Neither of them are particularly historic, but both are infused with an epic quality by The Cure’s sense of strong, haunting melody.

The rest commutes between modern-day Dusseldorf and the Sixties of the Floyd at the Middle Earth and the Doors in Miami. There’s a Neu-ish sense of smudged melody, soft tones flowing around a languorous, groaning bass. Pieces like ‘Other Voices’, a chill offshore dub written for a spaghetti western, and the seductive cathedral voices of ‘All Cats Are Grey’, with a ritual drum beat I could whirl to all night, have an overwhelming authentic atmosphere. Like ‘The End’, they have some strange sense of importance, of personal commitment, that I can’t quite fathom. It’s almost as though listening to ‘Faith’ requires a personal act of involvement, the reward being a sense of belonging.

That may sound completely wacko, but ‘Faith’ wins. It swings like a warm summer night, its warm breezes and rarefied beat transcend everyday dance music. But whatever symbols I pin on its entrancing map, the only steps you’ll take here are those of an irresistible dance to music like brilliant light.

And a word to the wise: ‘Faith’ and its constituent parts trade under a namemark of broadly ‘religious’ cynicism, dismissing catechism, belief and observance. It may (should?) knock down some icons, but you should read between its lines. Reverse psychology may be passe, but ‘Faith’ uses these as a front for its own deep-rooted hope and belief. As Smith repeats at the end of the title track, "There’s nothing left but faith." Without that they couldn’t have made this album. This is life and I want more of it.



(the only thing i don't really get is how come 'other voices' sounded to him like it was written for a spaghetti western!  :smth017 :-P)
 



Nice to see some other people in this thread. It was starting to feel like a very lonesome thing here...  ;)

One thing: I don't think it is fair or insightful to say that Ian Curtis died for us. If you've read "Touching From a Distance", Ian's biography by his wife, you'll come to the conclusion that he did it FOR HIMSELF. He did it probably to escape a painful situation he found unbearable (the disease, the drugs and the love triangle) but also to fulfil some sort of ROMANTIC ASPIRATION he had since a very young age. To die in his twenties and become a rock legend, that seems to have been a thing Ian thought a lot about.

Offline Cure Freak

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2008, 18:01:11 »


One thing: I don't think it is fair or insightful to say that Ian Curtis died for us. If you've read "Touching From a Distance", Ian's biography by his wife, you'll come to the conclusion that he did it FOR HIMSELF. He did it probably to escape a painful situation he found unbearable (the disease, the drugs and the love triangle) but also to fulfil some sort of ROMANTIC ASPIRATION he had since a very young age. To die in his twenties and become a rock legend, that seems to have been a thing Ian thought a lot about.

I have to agree about Ian Curtis. He died for himself. And did it.probsbly, for the reasons posted.


Offline revolt

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2008, 12:04:55 »
Paul Morley, the critic who bashed 'Three Imaginary Boys', had quite a more favourable opinion of The Cure’s second album (in NME, 12th July 1980)...

Out of such a strained experience came an extraordinary LP: the first things that have to be said about the collection are that the atmospheres are consistently and uncompromisingly melancholic, the textures relaxed and subtle. No hurrying or harrying. The Cure use genuine technical originality the sound is light and misty landscape pop, paler and thinner than 'Another Green World', as convincing as rock music can be in conveying the way the mind runs, slows, repeats itself – in the service of a deeply disturbing and unusual moral vision. It is definitive soft rock: a crumbling world and its pervasive persistence in memory is beautifully evoked, there is the quiet agony of love and loss, a constant sense of distance – between people, places, past and present. 'Seventeen Seconds' is an LP of romantic melancholy, of anguish (Roland Barthes described the lover as the one who waits) and finally of horror.


Offline revolt

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2008, 11:55:42 »
Here are a couple of reviews of the single "A Forest", both from 1980.

David Hepworth of Smash Hits:

After the glories of “Jumping Someone Else’s Train”, I fear that “A Forest” (Fiction) represents something of backward step for The Cure. Despiete fine patterns in the rhythm section and some suitably thoughtful guitar, the song is tuneless and toneless. Maybe I’m just expecting too much. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.


Review in Sounds magazine (writer unknown):

The Cure take a trip to the BBC radiophonic workshop in search of Dr. Who and find the ghost of Hawkwind. An over long introduction leads into a song which is so atmospheric. The vocals are well down in the mix with lots of echo and there's the unusual economic guitar and drums. Sparse but never boring. There's the added keyboards too. This isn't what you'd call an immediate song but there's something very attractive about it.

The tune has the best production to date and like the Banshees' excellent 'Happy House' it leaps over trivia into the 80s.


Offline revolt

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2008, 17:18:07 »
Here is the famous Paul Morley review of "Three Imaginary Boys", published on the New Musical Express, the one that would motivate the "Desperate Journalist" Cure song (this and many other interesting original articles can be found at http://www.picturesofyou.us)


A CURE FOR CANCER?


Aaah! More alert and anguished young men chalking up more sanctioned and sactimonious marks. Do not applaud them. This glistening long player contains twelve self-conscious variations upon the smoothly quirky theme, somewhere between hypnotic and indifferent, that brought the world, somewhere between hype and anonymity, the pleasureable 'Killing An Arab'. For one whole album that pretty bending and doodling does a lot less than please, and a lot more than irritate. The Cure's formula is not that marvellous.

But The Cure are not just making pop music. They make things much worse than they could be by packaging this insubstantial froth as if it had some social validity. As if it were going to alter our conceptions of what is real and what is unreal. They garnish their twelve little ditties with unreliable trickery, not content to let ordinary songs die ordinary deaths.

The lads go rampant on insignificant symbolism and compound this with rude, soulless obliqueness. They are trying to tell us something. They are trying to tell us they do not exist. They are trying to say that everthing is empty. They are making fools of themselves. They are represented on the ice cream colour cover by three bulky, ageing household gadgets. Lol Tolhurst (drums) is a fridge. Michael Dempsey (bass, voice) is an upright Hoover. Robert Smith (guitar, voice) is a standard lamp. Each song is represented on the back sleeve by a picture and on the label by a symbol.

Thus a typically dehydrated interpretation of Hendrix's 'Foxy Lady' is matched with a Polaroid snapshot of a slinky lady in pencil skirt and stillettos striding along a metropolis pavement. "So What' is represented by a picture of two bags of granulated sugar spilling over the floor. All clever stuff. All this charming, childish fiddling about aims for the anti-image but naturally creates the perfect malleable image: the tantalising enigma of The Cure.

They try to take everything away from the purpose and idea of the rock performer but try so hard they put more in than they take out. They add to the falseness. Good luck to them.

The Cure, really, are trying to sell us something. Their product is more artificial than most. "This is perhaps part of their masterplan, but it seems more like their naivety. The way it is, The Cure set themselves up as though they float a long way outside the realms of anything we can understand. They are scandalous, fulfilled aliens, and they look down on us. What do they see?

Not much that'll shoot your being through with vigour or sudden understanding, but they never stop nagging. Willowy songs wallow in the murk and marsh of tawdry images, inane realisations, dull epigrams. Sometimes they sound like an avant-garde John Otway, or an ugly Spirit. Sometimes a, song is as pretty as 'Killing An Arab': 'Accuracy' (a target over a man's eye) or 'Fire In Cairo' (palm tree in the desert). Most of the time it's a voice catching its breath, a cautiously primitive guitar riff, toy drumming and a sprightly bass. Nowhere is there anything alarming, nowhere is there anything truly adventurous. Not that I demand adventure at all costs, but The Cure do suggest that they're on a worthwhile expedition.

Neither do I constantly demand anything that's going to make my life a little bit better but, again. The Cure hint that they're doing this and more. What they've done here is the equivalent of an album of Enid Blyton readings packaged as reading from Angela Carter. No, it's maybe not that awful-good.

It's just that in 1979 people shouldn't be allowed to get away with things like this (The Cure are absolute conformists to vaguely defined non-convention). There are a just too many who do (Doll By Doll, Punishment Of Luxury, Fischer Z). Fatigue music. So transparent. Light and - oh, how it nags.



Offline wish-man

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2008, 20:45:21 »

Thank you very much for your posts, revolt!
Very appreciate it!  :smth023

Offline revolt

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Re: The Cure and the British press
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2008, 11:00:43 »

Thank you very much for your posts, revolt!
Very appreciate it!  :smth023


Hey, it's good to see people finding interest in this thread.

But I'd probably do it even without any feedback - I just like doing this stuff.  :-D


 

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