From Pop Matters:
#33 The Cure Pornography (1982)
The Cure, despite being one of the bands most commonly associated with the post-punk label, expanded way beyond those horizons quite quickly during their adolescence. A vast majority of their most highly appreciated work (1989’s Disintegration in particular; Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and The Head on the Door to a lesser extent) came well after their precarious post-punk beginnings, when their sound had drastically evolved to be more dulcet and pop-oriented. Up to that point, they had been a far darker and less approachable band, limited to the mournful fringes of post-punk’s conventional architecture.
Pornography is the masterpiece of the first stage of their career, stark and ominous in ways they would slowly leave behind for more sentimental textures. Post-punk was still coursing through their veins in ‘82; the drums feel mechanical and industrial, the guitars jagged and cacophonous, and Robert Smith’s melodies more sinister than gothic-romantic. Pornography, like Echo & the Bunnymen’s Porcupine, showed a band reaching the peak of their youthful exuberance before entering an age of artistic maturity that would justifiably push their popularity into another realm entirely. But the thrusting forward charge of “The Hanging Garden”, the cavernous gloom of “One Hundred Years”, and wonky dirges like “Cold” and “Siamese Twins” would remain the pinnacle of the band’s sound for many fans. Separated from the initially cold reaction it received upon release, we can now see exactly how critical Pornography was in the expansion of goth rock and, by extension, the cultural reach of post-punk as a whole.