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Pornography - The Cure

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Genre: Indie Rock & Punk - New Wave & Post-punk / Artist: The Cure / Audio CD released 2001-03-19 at Fiction

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      06.04.2009 20:46
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      A great album if you are in the right frame of mind.

      I may as well be as honest as possible from the start. You will either enjoy the sound and concept of this album or you won't. Robert Smith of The Cure was spiralling out of control with drug problems at the time of recording and the poor bloke was being consumed with many sour thoughts, and that my friends, is the sound of Pornography. He was setting out to create an album as unlistenable, grim, glum and ugly as possible.

      The album starts with the incredibly repetitive One Hundred Years which features some of the most robotic drumming on the album, but is redeemed almost entirely on the back of the spiralling guitar riff that will milk your udders from the first listen. As for the lyrics? They are as dark as to be expected. The opening lyric of "It doesn't even matter if we all die..." not only sums up this particular song but almost the entire album. A Short term Effect carries on in much the same fashion, but with some heavy distortion and only what I can describe as a muddy guitar effect making the whole song seem almost a hallucinogenic trip. As with most of the album, the melodies are there, you just have to work for them.

      What happens next though is rather brilliant. Suddenly the album explodes with the exciting and exhilarating The Hanging Garden. Initiated by over-the-top primal drumming and then swiftly followed by a bass guitar furiously trying to keep up with the pace. This is all surpassed though by Smith yelping over precision played guitar"Creatures kissing in the rain... shapeless in the dark again..." ; his voice right at the front of the mix, the lyrics demanding your full attention.

      It provides a much needed change of pace, because the next song Siamese Twins is quite possibly the one single most depressing song I have ever heard. It's impressively grim, but at the same time it seems forced and unnatural.

      The Figurehead is probably my favourite track here. Where the previous song seemed forced, there is no escaping The Figurehead's genuine misery. The drumming follows a set path for the most part, yet subtle interchanges in pace create an uneasy atmosphere. What really speaks to you here though is Robert's spidery guitar lines. His lyrics are sad, so sad. "A night of screams tear my clothes as the figurines tighten..." he cries. The song makes you want to help this man; God only knows what Smith was experiencing mentally at this time.

      Cold is a retread of The Figurehead but with disturbing synths added into the mix.

      It is just as pleasing, if not more so than The Figurehead, for the misery addict that lives deep inside each and every one of you!

      The closing title track is an experiment and a half. A distorted conversation starts off the song before rolling drums and God knows what else are slowly introduced until everything is consumed by an all encompassing dirge. After several minutes of seemingly little change the pleasingly horrid lyric of "A Hand in my mouth and a life spills into the flowers..." switches any doubt u may have had about ending the album like this for sheer delight. It is, well, just different to anything you have ever heard.

      So what you basically get here is 3 exceptional tracks, 3 great ones, and 2 good ones. Take them together though as you should and you will almost certainly be left impressed.

      I must stress that your enjoyment of this album will hang upon two things. Firstly, that you can appreciate misery in all of the various forms and secondly, that you have the patience of a saint for these songs to sink in and to make sense.

      It is a true relic from the Gothic era.

      8/10

      Daniel Kemp

      Find more of my reviews at www.danielkempreviews.co.uk

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      26.05.2008 20:30
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      The Cure's fourth album (1982).

      Following directly on from the cold gothic detachment of 'Seventeen Seconds' and spiritual crisis of 'Faith,' the Cure's fourth album brings the increasingly personal music to a satisfying climax, and remains the gloomiest of their career. This remains the band's finest achievement after their 1989 masterpiece 'Disintegration,' and provides an effectively disturbed contrast to that later work's ethereal sentimentality, an album that it's easy to lose yourself in and get sad about even if you don't paint your face black and white.

      The increased hostility is evident from the onset, with a more energetic performance all-round in 'One Hundred Years' that moves on from the apathy of 'Seventeen Seconds' by breaking down the emotional barriers and going straight to the heart of the matter, as Robert Smith expresses the belief that "it doesn't matter if we all die." The music itself is also more accomplished than that earlier work, with a greater emphasis on crafting memorable songs rather than merely setting an atmosphere, though the album proceeds to accomplish the latter equally well, from the warm, Eastern-tinged tribal jangle of 'The Hanging Garden' to the ominous gothic backdrops that dominate the album's second half.

      It's songs like 'Cold' in particular that fully express the band's attitude through the music, with a strong keyboard presence comparable to 'Disintegration' before the final track collapses in on itself. Oddly, despite its title this penultimate song leaves me feeling quite warm and comfortable, but I suppose I've become accustomed to the frosty climes of Scandinavian black metal and risk becoming somewhat jaded.

      1. One Hundred Years
      2. A Short Term Effect
      3. The Hanging Garden
      4. Siamese Twins
      5. The Figurehead
      6. A Strange Day
      7. Cold
      8. Pornography

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        18.04.2008 20:09
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        The fourth studio album from The Cure released in 1982

        In 1982 The Cure released their fourth studio album, Pornography. Despite the fact that I was only just in my early teens I had already become quite a fan of this band and so it was probably around 1984 when I purchased this album on vinyl. At the time, I thought that the album title was quite risqué, in a snigger snigger type of way and I remember hiding it away in my bedroom, out of sight of my parents.

        The truth is there is nothing explicitly sexual about this album at all, but it is quite a dark, gothic album and probably not the sort of album that you would play at a wedding party. I quickly fell in love with it and I played it to death, but as my vinyl collection slowly became replaced by CD's this album, along with many other beloved albums from my childhood was boxed up and put in the loft, never to be seen or spoken of again.

        In 2005 this album was reissued in a new digitally re-mastered format and this was the excuse that I needed to buy it again.

        This album features the same original eight tracks as the original vinyl release as below:

        1. One Hundred Years
        2. A Short Term Effect
        3. The Hanging Garden
        4. Siamese Twins
        5. The Figurehead
        6. A Strange Day
        7. Cold
        8. Pornography

        It is not be confused with a deluxe version of this same album, also released in 2005, which was a 2 CD release that included demo versions and unreleased tracks.

        Each of these tracks as listed above is in a new digitally re-mastered format.

        Pornography represents the third album in a trilogy of releases that included Seventeen Seconds (1980), Faith (1981) and this album, Pornography (1982). We would later learn from lead vocalist/guitar player, Robert Smith that this was a difficult time for the band, and listening to these songs now I sense some of that in the mood that this album takes, although I was not particularly aware of it at the time.

        Following the critically acclaimed release of the band's debut album, Three Imaginary Boys in 1979 The Cure already had a further 30 or more songs that they had been performing live and it is a selection of these that we find on this trilogy of releases. As the band squabbled and fought with one another internally, behind closed doors and away from public view, the record company, keen to cash in on the success of the debut release were largely responsible for putting together these songs.

        Smith would later tell us that Pornography was their darkest moment, recorded at the point where drugs, alcohol and fame had all combined to create an evil monster. There was only one single released from this album, partly because the band was falling apart with members leaving, re-joining and leaving again , yet this album came to be considered by many to be one of their finest moments.

        Pornography kicks off with the haunting, monotonous sound of a drum machine. From the intro of the opening track, One Hundred Years it is quickly evident that the band have abandoned their early punk influences, there are no screaming guitars here but instead Smith opens with a cold, robotic voice and as the drum beat gets louder the first line of the song makes us sit up and take notice "It doesn't matter if we all die" and by the time the song fades away he is repeating over and over again "we die one after the other".

        This first track sets the tone for the rest of the album. Depending on your point of view this is either the darkest, most depressing album of the decade or it is a stroke of pure genius, using the latest production technology available at the time to distort Smith's deep vocals and ride them over the top of an artificial drum machine. The idea was to create something very sterile and artificial in its sound. Personally I think this mix works very well.

        The Hanging Garden was the only track released from this album as a single and this features a mesmerising tribal drumbeat but once again it is not long before things take a lyrically more macabre turn "cover my face as the animals die".

        The Figurehead is a clever song that is rich in visual imagery. Inspired by an object that featured in one of the band's early videos you can close your eyes and imagine what you like. To me this song conjures up the image of Communist dictatorship, and the regimental marching of soldiers.

        Overall I think that this is a superb album and it is a testament to these songs to realise that tracks from this album have featured in every live tour that the band has ever undertaken, twenty years later these songs have stood the test of time, despite the band later adopting a more pop influenced commercial sound.

        The re-mastered songs that we find here certainly sound much better quality than they did when they first appeared on vinyl and I like the fact that I can now turn the volume up loud without any background interference. For the first time it is also possible to hear some of the distorted lyrics.

        Looking back on Pornography, Smith said "I wanted it to virtually unbearable" but he probably didn't bank on the fact that it's a thin line between love and hate and the fans loved it.

        The Cure are currently finishing their 13th studio album, which is scheduled for release in the Summer of 2008.

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      • Product Details

        Disc #1 Tracklisting
        1 Pornography
        2 Hanging Garden
        3 Hundred Years
        4 Siamese Twins
        5 Figurehead
        6 Strange Day
        7 Cold
        8 Short Term Effect

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