Newest Review: ... to a funky bass rhythm which carries things along nicely. Perhaps it is a little too indistinguishable from the ska-infused tunes that T... more
The first record by The Cure, it is anything but a bore!
Three Imaginary Boys - The Cure
Member Name: DanielKemp
Three Imaginary Boys - The Cure
Advantages: The cover of Foxy Lady is insanely good, Smith's take on new-wave/punk is different
Disadvantages: A couple of the songs do little to stand out
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.
Read more of my reviews at www.danielkempreviews.co.uk
Summary: I recommend Three Imaginary Boys, if you need to raise the money to buy it, sell your child's toys!