|The Cure - a live album!|
Well, I've been listening to a lot of surf music today, as the Size Zero Albino wants The Bassman and I to play with him... "Surf style" he said. I asked what type of surf music? Santos and Johnny? Beach Boys? The Ventures? The Surfaris? "Huh? I only know Dick Dale" So I burned him a cd full of great tracks (including an indian version of Pipeline - brilliant).
I was quite surprised when this turned up as the 23rd Track - it does mention the Deep Green Sea, so I guess it is technically correct.....
Well, it's another visit to 1992 again isn't it? I think I'm going to fiddle about with my playlists to stop this happening. If a track isn't either recorded between 1989 and 1995, or 1953 and 1956, I don't seem to care about it. That just can't be true.
Right - all the who, what, when and where first...
The Cure, a British pop group fronted by Robert Smith. A bloke with worse hair than Jo Brand and who took to wearing makeup before the second good Batman film came out.
Earlier material is a bit darker, they apparently peaked with their 8th album (Disintegration - released the same month as yesterdays Flying in a Blue Dream), but their follow up album to that was called Wish. Honestly, a pretty darn good album in itself - recorded in the Manor, so it sounds good and was probably their most successful album. They then toured that album worldwide to huge audiences. A few nights were recorded and released on CDi (an early form of video disc, before DVDs) and this double album.
Hand on heart, probably one of the top five great live albums there is. (In no order the others are; Slayer - Live Aggression, Bob Marley - Live, Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison, Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense) I think the live versions of the songs from Wish are just so much better performed and recorded on this CD.
However, we ought to clean up about The Cure first of all. In the 80's their image was simple - miserable bloody Goths
Well, that's just their image. Image is everything in pop music. It is also in reality nothing to do with their music. If music were separate from image, I would be happy. But no band will sell records without an image to market, so an image is found for them.
So are they miserable? Not really "Friday I'm in Love" is pretty perky.
However, lets get back to this miserable old song and album, shall we.
I like it. I liked it when I heard it at my first illicit teenage parties with curly haired girls, I liked it on my first portable CD player on the bus, I liked it when someone showed me a juddering pixelated video on their first computer. I like it now.
And they still do it for me live. Why? The delicate mixture of thick noise and delicate lines of music.
From the word go, when the acoustic guitar and bass play off against each other simple strumming and a two note riff, as the drums tap away and in the background, the two electric guitars start little feedback melodies with each other, building to the point where the drummer leads everyone in together.
Then, a more ordered version of the previous playing, with the strumming following the snare pattern, the climbing bass line moving the tune along and the electric guitars drenched in reverb, delay and distortion managing to play light melodies, almost in counterpoint to the bass line. Now the vocals, Robert Smith is not Pavarotti or Sinatra - not an artistic singer by any means, but he does manage to direct his performance in a way that does supplement the music in a harmonious manner, writing it's own melodic lines rather than copying any other instrument.
It also has a great breakdown in the middle, where the guitar has the most magnificent feedback solo of just plain bloody noise. All the while the 12 string acoustic drives the pace onwards, never slowing, but low in the mix - almost a tunes click track.
The whole double album is a practiced experiment with controlled noise - and I think that is probably why it appeals to me so much.