Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Cure

Released 1982 on Fiction
Reviewed by ur, 27/06/2000ce

I suspect that many of you, especially in England, think to the Cure as those boring mope-rockers embarrassangly clothed and with too much lipstick on their mouth. Out of time, out of fashion, out of place, nowadays they are quietly slipping away from view (but Bloodflowers, their latest release, has some pleasantly Neil young-tinged moments).
The Cure are generally connected to the goofy Goth-scene, even if they walked always on the poppier side of the street. Pornography, in every case, is the peak of their ultrbleak period, and it is an incredible lp filled up with boredom, paranoia and drug-induced confusion. Robert Smith is neither Ian McCulloch nor Ian Curtis: he misses the tragedy of the latter and the natural glamour of the former. He's just the quiet kid gone bad - he has listened to Bowie, he has read Kafka and Mishima, he thinks that life sucks, he hates himself and wants to die (yeah, just like Kurt). Pornography is about all these things: sex, God, death, sickness, city life that slowly kills you. A descending path towards madness. Consequently the music is loud, heavy, dumb: over the monotone Velvet-like thumping of thedrums, theguitar shrieks over and over, and the voice, thin and colourless, rings its useless, absurd mantras. The 8 songs on this album are all very similar: the mood is the same, the tempo is the same, the sound is the same. Under the thick production, you can manage to haer a child crying.
Yes, it's horrible- made of the horror that Kurtz saw on Conrad's Heart Of Darkness.
But, miracolously, the songs still have hooks, still, in some mysterious way, sound like songs. This is because the Cure are not stupid art-wankers like Bauhaus: they're more a ghoulish version of the Kinks, and Pornography is really their Village Green - but thru a distorted mirror. After all, Pornography is a blood red portarit of a dying society, a snapshot from suburban hell that become human condition. Bodies raped and tortured, like Schiele; obsession and dumbness, like Canetti. This lp belong to that series of ferociously self-destructive albums, like Big Star's Third and Neil Young's Tonight's The Night, when the bands seem to play a tragic russian roulette with their music.
In the end, Robert Smith arranged to save his life, suddenly trying to become a popstar and writing many excellent pop songs. But with its unmistakable attitude, Pornography stays as a milestone in recent English rock history. furious, self-indulgent, sincerely out of control, it ends with these words: "I must fight this sickness/ Find a cure". I prefer good musicians alive to rock legends dead.

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