Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.



12th May 1979 – New Musical Express (UK)

Album Reviewed by Paul Morley

Aaah! More alert and anguished young men chalking up more sanctioned and sanctimonious marks! Do not applaud them! This glistening long player contains twelve self-conscious variations upon the smoothly quirky theme, somewhere between hypnotic and indifferent, that brought the world, somewhere between hype and anonymity, the pleasurable “Killing An Arab”. For one whole album that pretty bending and doodling does a lot less than please, and a lot more than irritate. The Cure’s formula is not that marvellous, but the Cure are not just making pop music. They make thins much worse than they could be by packaging this insubstantial froth as if it had some social validity. As if it were going to alter our conceptions of what is real and what is unreal. They garnish their twelve little ditties with unreliable trickery, not content to let ordinary songs die ordinary deaths.
The lads go rampant on insignificant symbolism and compound this with rude, soulless obliqueness. They are trying to tell us something. They are trying to tell us they do not exist. They are trying to say that everything is empty. They are making fools of themselves. They are represented on the ice-cream colour cover by three by three bulky, ageing household gadgets. Lol Tolhurst (drums) is a fridge. Michael Dempsey (Bass, Voice) is an upright hoover. Robert Smith (Guitar Voice) is a standard lamp. Each song is represented on the back sleeve by a picture and on the label by a symbol.
Thus a typically dehydrated interpretation of Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” is matched with a Polaroid snapshot of a slinky lady in a pencil skirt and stilettos striding along a metropolis pavement. “So What” is represented by a picture of two bags of granulated sugar spilling over the floor. All very clever stuff. All this charming, childish fiddling about aims for the anti-image but naturally creates the perfect malleable image: the tantalising enigma of The Cure.
They try to take everything away from the purpose and idea of the rock performer but try so hard they put more in than they take out. They add to the falseness. Good luck to them.
The Cure, really, are trying to sell us something. Their product is more artificial than most. This is perhaps part of their master plan, but it seems more like their naivety. The way it is, The Cure set themselves up as though they float a long way outside the realms of anything we can understand. They are scandalous, fulfilled aliens and they look down on us. What do they see? Not much that will shoot your being through with vigour or sudden understanding, but they never stop nagging. Willowy songs wallow in the murk and marsh of tawdry images, inane realisations and dull epigrams. Sometimes they sound like an avant-garde John Otway, or an ugly Spirit. Sometimes a song is as pretty as “Killing An Arab”: “Accuracy” (a target over a man’s eye) or “Fire In Cairo” (palm tree in the desert). But most of the time it’s just a voice catching its breath, with a cautiously primitive guitar riff, some toy drumming and a sprightly bass. Nowhere is there anything alarming; nowhere is there anything truly adventurous. Not that I demand adventure at all costs, but The Cure do suggest that they are on a worthwhile expedition.
Neither do I constantly demand anything that’s going to make my life a little bit better but, again, The Cure hint that they’re doing this and more. What they’ve done here is the equivalent of an album of Enid Blyton reading packaged as readings from Angela Carter. No, It’s maybe not that awful-good. it’s just that in 1979 people shouldn’t be allowed to get away with things like this(the Cure are absolute conformists to vaguely defined non-convention). There are just too many who do (Doll By Doll, Punishment Of Luxury, Fischer Z). Fatigue Music. So transparent, light and…oh how it nags.

Maybe it was youthful exuberance or perhaps it was the fact that the band itself was not pulling all the strings, Three Imaginary Boys is not only a very strong debut, but a near oddity (it's an admittedly "catchy" record) in the Cure catalogue. More poppy and representative of the times than any other album during their long career, Three Imaginary Boys is a semi-detached bit of late-'70s English pop-punk. Angular and lyrically abstract, its strong points are in its utter simplicity. There are no dirges here, no long suites, just short bursts of energy and a rather strange cover of Hendrix's "Foxy Lady." For some, this is the last good Cure record, many fans of this album being in no way prepared for the sparse emptiness and gloom that would be the cornerstone of future releases. For the most die-hard Cure-head, however, it's an interesting side note, hard to place in the general flow of the band's discography. Cure leader Robert Smith has voiced many times over his mixed feelings about the record, most notably the cover art (the three "representative" appliances on the cover, the lack of a real track listing -- all the songs are represented with arty type pictures -- and in no real order) and the production, which at times is admittedly a little muddy, but even that lends it a certain youthful charm. What the Cure would do next wasn't entirely obvious to the listener of this album, but there are some definite hints.

Taken from the 2004 Deluxe Edition to MP3 @ 320kbps

1.10:15 Saturday Night
3.Grinding Halt
4.Another Day
6.Subway Song
7.Foxy Lady
9.So What
10.Fire In Cairo
11.It's Not You
12.Three Imaginary Boys
13.The Weedy Burton

1.I Want To Be Old (sav studio demo 10/77)
2.I'm Cold (sav studio demo 11/77)
3.Heroin Face (live in the rocket, Crawley 12/77 - previously available on 'curiosity' mc 1984)
4.I Just Need Myself (psl studio demo 1/78)
5.10:15 Saturday Night (rs home demo 2/78)
6.The Cocktail Party (group home demo 3/78)
7.Grinding Halt (group home demo 4/78)
8.Boys Don't Cry (chestnut studio demo 5/78 - previously available on 'curiosity' mc 1984)
9.It's Not You (chestnut studio demo 5/78)
10.10:15 Saturday Night (chestnut studio demo 5/78)
11.Fire In Cairo (chestnut studio demo 5/78)
12.Winter ('tib' studio out-take 10/78)
13.Faded Smiles (aka I Don't Know) ('tib' studio out-take 10/78)
14.Play With Me ('tib' studio out-take 10/78)
15.World War (on early copies of 'boys don't cry' album 1979)
16.Boys Don't Cry (single - also on 'boys don't cry' album 1979)
17.Jumping Someone Else's Train (single - also on 'boys don't cry' album 1979)
18.Subway Song (live in Nottingham 10/79 - previously available on 'curiosity' mc 1984)
19.Accuracy (live in Nottingham 10/79)
20.10:15 Saturday Night (live in Nottingham 10/79)


  1. Pretty lame they left off "Killing An Arab"!

    1. Yeah I completely agree...and I'll be posting the US release Boys Don't Cry in a few weeks