5/21/1989 Dallas Morning News
The Cureís Gloom Works A Black Magic
The double album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me by The Cure was a ray of sunshine in the bandís work. Anyone who remembers the netherworldly Pornography understands that.
Kiss Me suggested that group leader Robert Smith - an obsessed, distracted and coy free spirit - was getting a bit more sanguine about things. And why shouldnít he? He has married his high school sweetheart, the band has become a platinum act and Cure live shows are sellouts.
Alas, the lightening up was temporary. With Disintegration, The Cureís new Elektra recording, Mr. Smith is once again preoccupied by his own gloomy world view. Eleven years after this British group formed, the singer-songwriter remains an often brilliant but confused artist, haunted by dark, surrealistic dreams.
As its title suggests, Disintegration is a trifle pessimistic. The subject matter is love and romance. But Mr. Smith prefers to sing about unfruitful love, romance gone sour. He stumbles through his fascinatingly Stygian dreamscape, a tragic hero burdened with thoughts of unrequited love.
But if we must be exposed to a musical nightmare, this is the best kind. Mr. Smith and his colleagues, after all, are masters of the genre. The guitars are magnificent swirls of melancholy, the bass lines wonderfully brooding, the keyboards perfectly gothic. In front of it all sings Mr. Smith, his unique, quavery voice seemingly ready to succumb to exhaustion.
This recording gives us: the sepulchral Plainsong, whose well-timed cymbal inserts increase its ominous aspect; the world-weary wallowing of the title tune, an intense, 6 Ĺ minute funeral march thatís as mesmerizing as it is morbid; the supreme sadness of Pictures Of You, an affecting tune about lost love; and the bouncy bathos of Lovesong.
Disintegration is a well-crafted and performed work that offers interesting possibilities for The Cureís upcoming concert tour. Just donít look uplifted.