Friday, February 24, 2017

The Cure - Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities

FOUR CDs of b-sides from The Cure, great!  The set is broken up chronologically, and not surprisingly the first disc 1978-1987 is by far the most essential.  Any self-respecting Cure fan (Cure-head?) should already have creepy kitchen sink drama 10:15 Saturday Night already and the rest is a bit hit and miss.  The stronger tracks are earlier on the disc, with I'm Cold sounding like the darker moments of their debut album, Three Imaginary Boys, while Another Journey by Train is like early single Jumping Someone Else's Train ran through a 17 Seconds blender, ie, pretty damn good.  Descent is like cast-off riffs from their Faith album and Splintered in Her Head could soundtrack a descent into hell.  After this the mood changes abruptly with the quirky likes of The Dream and The Upstairs Room, though the second version of Lament is a brooding slab of glorious misery.  What else?  Further into the first disc sees Robert Smith get looser and looser with his vocals, not always to great effect (the piercing wails on New Day).  The pacy guitar strums of The Exploding Boy are quite fetching though.

After this things get a bit wobbly.  On the second disc, A Chain of Flowers has some gorgeous, if very Goth-y, ringing guitars.  They turn their hand to poppy moments such as 2 Late and To The Sky is the Cure's very own John Hughes soundtracking moment, it wouldn't have been out of place in a mid 80s coming-of-age movie.  Other highlights include the Eastern flavoured Fear of Ghosts and two different covers of The Doors' Hello I Love You. Elsewhere, we could do without remixes of Icing Sugar, Hey You and Just Like Heaven, and the dance-infused Harold and Joe comes across as trying a bit too hard.

The third CD is by and large, accessible intelligent pop like This Twilight Garden and Halo, and darker brooding numbers like Play and the gentle grower that is The Big Hand.  We also get a couple of novelty covers, Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze and Bowie's Young Americans, along with Burn, taken from the soundtrack to The Crow.  The fourth CD isn't great really, some dreadful remixes (A Forest) and dodgy covers (World In My Eyes).  But overall, a decent collection.