Album Reviews: December 2004

 

The Cure - Three Imaginary Boys (Rhino/Fiction)

The 2nd of June 1979 and a band that would later become regulars to the UK chart made their first appearance with the release of 'Three Imaginary Boys'. The Cure, a band who had previously only had minor success and none so far on a nationwide level released this album through independent label Fiction. Tunes that featured the punkesque backdrop of Tolhurst and Dempsey were illustrated by Smith's now familiar vocal scrawl and this band were set to go from cult heroes to stadium fillers in the space of a decade.

This time around, the Rhino label have released this album as a double set featuring tracks taken from Robert Smith's own personal archive. Hours spent in punk clubs of the day, coupled with his own personal teenage angst really do show when we come to listen to this album. A hotchpotch of untrained riotous musicality perform upfront, but what appears quite odd is the fact that the group are undoubtedly different from their contemporaries and are set for more than the rigors of fashion that punk experienced.

What is most interesting about this collected work is that we not only get to hear live workings of familiar tunes taken from the original album, but also hear for example, how a song like '10.15...' developed from its original 'home demo' in 1978. This sees Robert performing this tune apparently on his own, flanked by what I can only describe as a 'Bontempi' and rhythm offered up by something considerably less than a 'full-kit'. It's these moments that help the listener connect with the artist more so than was originally available from listening to this album upon it's release. With rarities dating back as far as 1977 available here, this release collects together tracks that were never before generally available and is an album, that is for more than just the die-hard fan. 8/10

Nick James

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