Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Cure - Three Imaginary Boys

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Sunday.

This month marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of Three Imaginary Boys, the debut album from the Cure. This 1979 record went to number 140 in France, number 44 in the UK and number 37 in New Zealand.

Side one begins with the lonely "10:15 Saturday Night". The percussion at the start reminds me of a ticking clock, though the lyrics associate it to the dripping of a sink tap.

"Accuracy" has a very pronounced bass line that gives it a rich, vibrating sound.

"Grinding Halt" has another catchy guitar and bass groove to it. The song reminds me of early punk like the Clash.

"Another Day" wafts in on a gentle, mid-tempo sway. The day is very much unwelcome by the singer.

"Object" rocks out a lot more. I am trying to figure out if the occasional echoing is a studio trick with Smith's voice or if the other guys are backing him up there. I am leaning towards the former.

"Subway Song" tells of a late-night female traveler who is being watched. The song has a well-done anxiousness to it, and I like how the listener is left to figure out what happened next.

Side two starts with a curious cover of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Foxy Lady". Based on the intro, it sounds like this was one that came from just some messing around in the studio.

"Meathook" presents a conversation with a butcher. The repetition of the title over and over is an interesting touch.

"So What" is very much a punk tune.

The next track likens passion to a "Fire in Cairo". The title spelling for a chorus does get a little repetitive after a bit. I wonder if Smith ever fumbled that when they played live - I bet he had to at least once.

"It's Not You" is a song about dumping someone you're dating. It is actually the ultimate middle finger, telling the person outright that they are not the one.

The title track "Three Imaginary Boys" is dark and filled with nocturnal fears. This one is shades of what would come musically for the band as the 80's progressed.

The record closes with a short untitled hidden instrumental track which has become known as "The Weedy Burton". It has a bit of a jazz vibe to it.

Now, this is an interesting debut. I had not heard it before (thank you, Spotify) so I was expecting what I knew of the Cure from their later releases. Much to my surprise, this record has a much stripped down sound which I enjoyed a lot. The songs here remind me a lot of the Violent Femmes debut in 1983.

For my various reviews of the Cure albums, please click here.

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