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Three Imaginary Boys - The Cure

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Genre: Indie Rock & Punk - New Wave & Post-punk / Artist: The Cure / Audio CD released 2005-09-05 at Commercial Marketing

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    3 Reviews
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      03.05.2009 16:51
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      I recommend Three Imaginary Boys, if you need to raise the money to buy it, sell your child's toys!

      It all started when a band named The Easy Cure won a competition with record label Hansa Records and received a recording contract. However, the band terminated their contract with Hansa after they felt that their artistic freedom was being compromised. Subsequently, the band shortened their name to The Cure and sent demo tapes out to a number of major record labels. It would be the label Fiction, derived from Polydor records, which would ultimately sign The Cure and be their home for a number of years.

      Opening song, 10:15 Saturday Night, had originally been the b-side to their debut single, Killing an Arab. It is the ideal album opener, with the slinky guitar work slowly increasing into earshot before Smith reels off his now iconic lyric, "...and the tap drips, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip...". During the song's running time, Michael Dempsey, Porl Thompson and Lol Tolhurst have already proven to be adequate accomplices.

      Accuracy plays host to a funky bass rhythm which carries things along nicely. Perhaps it is a little too indistinguishable from the ska-infused tunes that The Clash was now delivering, but nevertheless it is still a great song.
      Grinding Halt is very much the band's own creation though and has a unique identity of its own. The rhythm section of The Cure is very adept and more than capable of providing the necessary pace, which in turn gives the song its beating heart. Robert Smith sounds as if he is having a whale of a time, shouting at the top of his lungs, "Everything's coming to a grinding halt"

      I think that Another Day and the title-track are pioneers of the minimalist, gothic approach, which Robert Smith would take on the ensuing records.
      The former has very clean sounding layered guitars, which bop around as Smith howls, "Something holds me... holds me... hypnotised...", as if he is transfixed and in a trance. Three Imaginary Boys isn't dissimilar, but has less layers of instrumentation and is therefore rendered more direct.

      So What is a form of expressionism beaten with the ugly stick. Smith's vocals crack, splinter and pierce my tolerance barrier. The fact that he is essentially just shouting random inserts of little meaning causes me to cut my losses and just leave.

      I find Object and It's Not You to be acceptable, if unengaging punk romps. Robert Smith has said that he detests Object and that it was forced upon the record by producer and label owner, Chris Parry. I personally find these songs impossible to tell apart from any other punk infused rants, which by the time of 1979, had inundated the chart.

      By comparison, Fire in Cairo is a favourite of mine from the set. The rolling tempo is perfectly suited to Smith's tribute toward a love which burns like "a fire in Cairo". The guitar work throughout is impressive and hints at what Porl Thompson would go on to achieve within his position in the band.

      Of course I've been saving the best until last - the completely unexpected reimagining of Jimi Hendrix's Foxy Lady. The song isn't so much given a makeover, but rather torn down, reconstructed from the ground up and reshaped into an unrecognisable behemoth of godly guitar work. The tempo is put into overdrive and is driven by each band member simply giving it their all. When you play air guitar in your bedroom, you cannot deny that THIS is what it sounds like.
      The joke of course is that it wasn't even meant to have made the final cut of Three Imaginary Boys. It is sung by bassist Michael Dempsey and was little more than a soundcheck.

      There will be no illusions here; this is a New-Wave/Punk record that has more in common with Blondie than the music that The Cure would eventually be known for. Having said this, if you dig deep, you will notice that some of the songs already carry the DNA structure that The Cure would infuse their songs with in the future.

      All things considered it is a cracking debut album and a great start to The Cure's legacy.

      8/10

      Daniel Kemp

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

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        26.05.2008 18:31
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        The Cure's first album (1979).

        The Cure's first album is much different to the gothic style they would subsequently become known for, rooted more in the post-punk style of bands like the Boomtown Rats, but actually any good. A far cry from the keyboard-drenched soundscapes they would be producing ten years down the line, these songs are fairly minimal and almost reggae in spirit, based around the repetition of simple guitar lines and lyrics for several minutes until the band decides to move on to the next.

        Many of these songs still noticeably belong to the band's eighties sound, especially those such as '10.15 Saturday Night' with its lovelorn lyrics and the comparably atmospheric 'Three Imaginary Boys,' but the rest will be alien to those approaching this from something like 'Disintegration.' For a start, Robert Smith acts very unhinged, and clearly isn't taking himself seriously in songs like 'Meathook' and 'Fire in Cairo,' both of which feature seemingly random lyrics extrapolated from the title that see Smith repeat the title ad nauseam in the first until it loses all meaning, and merely spell out the title of the second over and over again.

        His bluesy guitar solos also break the tone of many songs and keep them rooted in a rock base, and even the more melodic songs sound more like something a pop-oriented seventies punk band would produce.

        1. 10.15 Saturday Night
        2. Accuracy
        3. Grinding Halt
        4. Another Day
        5. Object
        6. Subway Song
        7. Foxy Lady (Jimi Hendrix cover)
        8. Meathook
        9. So What
        10. Fire in Cairo
        11. It's Not You
        12. Three Imaginary Boys
        13. Untitled

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          26.01.2008 20:28
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          Released in 1979 this was the first studio album from The Cure

          Three Imaginary Boys was the first studio album released by the then three-piece band known as the Cure. Originally released on vinyl back in 1979 I bought this record for a pittance and today I never cease to be amazed by the ridiculous amounts of money that this original vinyl record now changes hands for.

          My original copy is safely tucked away with the rest of my rather vast record collection from that same era. I have slowly replaced many of these vinyl records with their CD equivalent and this album is one such example.

          In 2005 the Cure re-issued this album in a remastered CD format. This CD contains all of the twelve original tracks plus a bonus track of a previously unreleased song called "The Weedy Burton" which appears here as track 13.

          The full track listing is as below:

          1. 10.15 Saturday Night
          2. Accuracy
          3. Grinding Halt
          4. Another Day
          5. Object
          6. Subway Song
          7. Foxy Lady
          8. Meathook
          9. So What
          10. Fire In Cairo
          11. It's Not You
          12. Three Imaginary Boys
          13. The Weedy Burton

          The album kicks off with the rather catchy and upbeat "10.15 Saturday Night." This Guitar/Bass/Drum arrangement is short and sweet, direct to the point and sets the tone for what is to follow. Listening to this song today, and the other tracks on this album there is definitely a feeling of naivety about it, but then again lead singer Robert Smith had only just turned twenty when this album was first released in the May of 1979.

          "Object" is quite a brutal, punk influenced bash whilst "Grinding Halt" is a much cleverer track. This has a more commercial sound to it and starts off with the sound of a bouncing ball. At the end of this track the music stops suddenly like someone has just unplugged the guitars from the plug sockets.

          "Fire In Cairo" is another of those three-minute masterpieces that leaves you feeling happy and fulfilled. This song somehow manages to be both melancholy and upbeat at the same time.

          "Foxy Lady" is a cover of a Jimi Hendrix song and the only track on this album where Bass Guitarist Michael Dempsey takes lead vocals. This is one of my least favourite songs on this album as is "So What" which could be described as a rambling mess that seems to have been put there to push the limits and see exactly just what the diehard fans would tolerate.

          The title track off this album "Three Imaginary Boys" is probably my favourite song from this album. It is quite moody and atmospheric and more reminiscent of what they would release on their follow up album "Seventeen Seconds".

          When I listen to this album now I find it interesting to see how the tracks on here compare with the band's subsequent releases. There are only a few bands still around today that have had a career that has spanned 30 years, and still have a following that is still both faithful and strong.

          There will always be some amount of curiosity value attached to this album but this debut release has much more appeal to it than merely that. It is by no means a masterpiece as some of the other Cure albums that followed in the early eighties have become. All of the original band members have said that they were never entirely happy with this recording but this self-criticism in my eyes is a little harsh and obviously retrospective on the part of the band who are obviously comparing it with greater things that they subsequently achieved. I for one think that this is an impressive debut album by anyone's standards.

          One of the things that I love about "Three Imaginary Boys" apart from the songs is the album cover, which I feel is worthy of a mention. This original vinyl cover is replicated here on the CD version and features three obscure household appliances. Proof that this band had a weird sense of humour even back in their humble beginnings.

          Incidentally despite the Cure achieving a considerable amount of success in America around the time of this release in 1979 this album was never actually released in America. Instead they released a different album called "Boys Don't Cry." This featured eight of the twelve tracks from "Three Imaginary Boys" plus four other songs including "Boys Don't Cry" which was released as a single in the UK around this same time. The release of this remastered CD version of "Three Imaginary Boys" in 2005 was therefore actually the first time that this album was commercially released in the United States.

          With this debut album the Cure achieved so much. There have been criticisms that Lol Tolhurst was not a very accomplished drummer at the time of this release, and this is definitely evident, as the drumming is often rather repetitive from one song to the next. It is also noticeable that there are no other instruments that feature on this album other than Guitars and Drums. Future releases would also heavily feature Keyboards but this is an instrument that they were yet to discover.

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        • Product Details

          Disc #1 Tracklisting
          1 10:15 Saturday Night
          2 Accuracy
          3 Grinding Halt
          4 Another Day
          5 Object
          6 Subway Song
          7 Foxy Lady
          8 Meat Hook
          9 So What
          10 Fire In Cairo
          11 It's Not You
          12 Three Imaginary Boys
          13 The Weedy Burton