Monday, June 4, 2018

Albums You Need To Hear: Pornography

From Let's Talk Music Reviews:

On May the 4th 1982, the album, Pornography by The Cure was released. The Cure had originated in West Sussex, England and Pornography was their fourth studio album to be unleashed on a waiting public, who had pushed the previously and equally morose sounding Faith, into the Top 20 in their native home.

The line up was down to the three core members of vocalist/guitar/keyboards Robert Smith, bass/keyboards Simon Gallup and percussion/keyboards Laurence (Lol) Tolhurst.

It was released on the Fiction Record label and produced by Phil Thornnally with the grand total of 8 tracks on it.

From the beginning you hear the programmed beat for “One Hundred Years” which has a very iconic guitar line which is hard to forget. This is like a darker version of Alice Through The Looking Glass if you on a bad trip. The imagery is quite bleak. Fear, death blows, exploding heads and a small black-haired girl pushing her face through a mirror.

The slowed down repeating lines of Smith singing, make you feel a bit off kilter in “A Short Term Effect”. It is a rather clever use of sound. A round-a-bout of discordant musical sounds adds to the feeling of ill ease.

“The Hanging Garden” was the single and is a favourite for many fans. Smith singing ‘fall fall fall fall, into the wall, jump jump out of time, fall fall fall fall out of the sky, cover my face as the animals die!!’ gives this a heavy feeling. A lovely heavy bass from Gallup and that wonderful drum beat makes this danceable.

A slow beat and again that very purposeful bass lead into the melancholy vocals of Robert in “Siamese Twins”. Such a moving and descriptive piece of lyrical poetry. It feels like an opiate malaise and you will definitely remember his voice as he asks ‘Is it always like this?’

A gothic love ballad of purity and darkness. This is the “The Figurehead” with its meandering beat with a realization of loss of innocence. The song is so sad and filled with longing.

Next is the gorgeous “Strange Day”. While this sounds like a number about loss, it swells with that great guitar playing from Robert Smith. Would you not want a strange day to wander through the mist?

The keyboard chords for “Cold” are spine tingling. Brooding and atmospheric as you feel the cold doom seep into your bones.

Tolhurst picks out a pretty amazing drum beat on the last song on the album which of course is “Pornography”. This is a graduating build up of sound upon sound, making this highly unusual in this period of music. Again that discordant giddy feeling where Smith‘s voice can be heard within the hurdy gurdy maelstrom.

Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography were The Cure‘s trilogy of nihilistic gothic rock. The bands by this time were using drugs heavily and drinking copious amounts of alcohol which probably account for the strange and trippy lyrics.

While the drug use and Robert Smith‘s ever deepening depression, brought their music to new heights, it also took its toll on the band, ripping at their seams. Simon Gallup left the band after Pornography was recorded after falling out with Smith and it looked like the end for The Cure even though the album went on to be in the Top 10 in the UK.

Luckily for us it wasn’t, but that is a whole other story or five.

This album, Pornography, with its bass driven sound, unique vocals and experimental music is a product of its time. For me, this is one of those landmark moments and as a young goth, this was often on heavy rotation. This is the dark side of The Cure and it is a wonderous place to be.