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1/1/1985  Unknown Source
The Cure

Weíre probably the least miserable band in the history of popular music, in the privacy of our own homes," says Robert Smith. Thatís hard to believe, coming from a man who has made a career out of exorcising personal demons as leader of The Cure.

Are The Cure guilty of milking the angst of junior-league existentialists? Smith explains: "When youíre feeling happy it seems irrational to document it really... itís gone too quick... but itís a good release to write when youíre feeling frustrated..." Smith leaves it unclear whether it is important to him that his listeners draw similar cathartic benefits.

Fortunately he doesnít take himself or The Cure too seriously. He acknowledges stealing ideas from books he reads: "I would never be obvious about it, but it would be impossible for me not to show any of the things Iíve absorbed... what we do is tinged with influences of people I discover at the time of writing (lyrics)."

The Cureís new The Head On The Door LP (Elektra) neatly summarizes their previous work, form the skeletal pop of Three Imaginary Boys, to the adventurousness of the recent singles and last years The Top LP. It draws atmosphere from everything in between. It forges new ground through its unlikely combination of brilliantly simple arrangements and virtuosic playing from the five current band members. Highlights are newcomer Boris Williamsí innovative drumming and the return of abrasive bassist Simon Gallup.

The Head On The Door mixes genres effortlessly. Flamenco-sounding "The Blood" follows "Kyoto Song," and precedes the warped reggae styling of "Six Different Ways." No two songs sound alike, yet they are all clearly Cure songs. Smith explains the diversity: "I think itís fun to pretend youíre a different group from time to time. It keeps everyone fresh." "A Night Like This" is most telling of their present optimism. It starts out like "Cold" from Pornography, but it adds positive lyrics and a tasteful saxophone solo where austere space would have done in the past.

The Cure are more concerned with writing and playing the songs they want to than with growing more popular. "The main reason we go on is because of how much dross is going on around us musically," says Smith. In talking to Smith you canít help wondering if part of the reason they continue is that Smith canít figure out what else to do with his life. It seems like he resents being happy, finding it boring and uninspiring.

Smith has no definite plans. The Cure will continue only as long as it seems right: "I would like to be graceful about my decline, rather than flaunt it... weíve just about reached maximum popularity. It will get to the point where we canít handle it." Their new LP is moving up the charts, and they are selling out large venues like New Yorkís Radio City Music Hall. In what would be a fitting irony, success could mean the end of The Cure.

- Andy Sloan


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