Faith by The Cure

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Faith by The Cure
Faith by The Cure

Album Released: 1981

Faith ::: Artwork

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1.The Holy Hour4:25
3.Other Voices4:27
4.All Cats Are Grey5:26
5.The Funeral Party4:13
7.The Drowning Man4:48


Adding yet more depth, shade, and texture, Robert Smith and friends move further into the territory marked 'bleak'. Yet it's bleak with intermittent shards of light, and its those bursts of light that make for a good and balanced Cure album.

Two songs less on this set than the previous Seventeen Seconds allowed Smith to further refine his search for a perfect cohesive album with no filler, one that would mean something to the listener. Mr Smith, with his growing hair, his penchant for reading unsuitable books, and regurgitating them in his increasingly oblique and intellectual lyrics.

"The Holy Hour" makes for a weighty and serious opener, thrown into sharp relief by the urgent bass-led "Primary", which in turn leads into the slower, serious, yet still melodic fine tunery of "Other Voices", which I happen to adore. It gets me, not sure why. I love the sound of a bass guitar in any case, and Simon Gallup does a fine job with his basslines across this entire album.

A perfectly paced and constructed first half of the album is rounded off with the beautiful "All Cats Are Grey", featuring the first extended Cure song introduction, something the band would repeat in years hence, particularly on the lauded Disintegration. The vocals and lyrics for "All Cats Are Grey" are particularly sombre in tone - here The Cure paint with music and words to evoke a feeling in a listener.

"The Funeral Party" sees The Cure coming close to matching the desolate, fantastic beauty of Joy Division circa "The Eternal" from Closer. And just when something more uptempo is needed, up pops the enjoyable "Doubt", almost a retreat to Three Imaginary Boys territory. That sets the mood for the atmospheric "The Drowning Man".

Then, just as on Seventeen Seconds, the title song closes the album, a sort of summary of what's gone before. Musically, lyrically, in terms of mood, the track's ghostly vocals sound like Robert Smith probably did need to cheer up, but hey.

That the band were continuing to progress artistically is beyond doubt. Faith is the most perfectly-sequenced and thought-out Cure album so far, and it kind of demands that the intended playing order is the actual order of the album.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

The Cure improve the production, they vary the tempos, and they finally clarify their vision, but their songwriting is still about as deep as Jessica Simpson with a hangover.

This is however where The Cure become unmistakably Goth with a capital G, as any residual punk rock content is about zilch, and the lyrics get the party started regarding funerals, murder, bleeding, and dancing alone. Fun times for all the pasty freaks, in other words.

For me though, although improvements have been made, this is still the sound of apathetic boredom, not tattered emotions. The lyrics, as is the tendency of anyone who is one at heart, sound like the meandering poetic prattle of a 15 year old fat girl. To wit: I watched and acted wordlessly, as piece by piece you performed your story. Moving through an unknown past, dancing at the funeral party.

Come on, Robert ... were you laughed at when you tried out for the cheerleading squad and your chubby bootie popped the seam on your bloomers when you tried to do the high kick? This stuff is about as devastating as a Buddy Hackett movie. The words here never transcend the level of 'adolescent whimper', and never once sound as monumentally gloomy as Smith undoubtedly intended them to be. They rely on cliches and contrived descriptions out of ... well, gothic novels.

The words would soon improve greatly however - Smith was making sure of that by cramming his veins so full of heroin that he made Keith Richards look like Julie Andrews.

Still, things are definitely building up round here, and while I'd still rather listen to The Raspberries than ever hear Faith again, some developments bode well for the future of the band. They've finally shed their last punk vestiges; they've begun to pay more attention to their guitar and synth tones - on "Primary" for example, they actually double-track a couple of flanged-out bass guitars and split them between the two channels to make them sound all Terminator-like; there's a hint of desperation in Smith's voice that wasn't really noticeable before; and the miffed-sounding vocals on the relatively blazing "Doubt" and "Primary", plus the little melodic flourishes he allows himself on "The Drowning Man", show his confidence in his pipes has begun to grow.

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by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza (blogging at Capn Marvel's Bonanza [Defunct])

I know I might be alone in this, but for me Faith is far better than its predecessor Seventeen Seconds, and I even enjoy it more than the far more acclaimed follow-up, Pornography.

Many reviews of Faith mention that the album sounds like the way the cover looks. But look at the album cover - it's white and blurry, like the cover of the previous album, but there's a difference - this cover has texture. And that's reflected in the music too. As a result, the music sounds richer, much more atmospheric and captivating. The slow spots are filled with a kind of hazy weepy beauty, and the faster spots are spiced-up with rockin' energy.

So, just like "A Forest" on the previous album, there's a fast rockin' piece here, called "Primary". It features nothing but drums, vocals, and two bass guitars, playing that vicious, deep 'chunga-chunga' sound, peppered with a bit of flanging and chorus. And Smith delivers a respectable vocal performance too, which reminds me of why I liked him on Three Imaginary Boys. The other rocking song is "Doubt", which sounds pretty pissed-off, even closer to the spirit of Three Imaginary Boys.

Everywhere else, the rhythm is slower, and the atmosphere more er, 'depressed' (though I don't really like that applied to Cure songs). Still, none of them feel dull or irritating like "In Your House" or "At Night" were, for example.

One thing that caught me by surprise here, is that this album has - get this - A MAJOR KEY SONG. Every song on Seventeen Seconds was minor key (OK, "The Final Sound" was atonal, but it wasn't major key), but "The Funeral Party" begins with a loud major-key synth chord, and maintains that atmosphere all the way through. Of course, it's still slow and airy and sad, but that major key really makes a difference - it's like a sad face that's smiling, in that it still looks sad - and that's exactly what happens with "The Funeral Party", it may be in a major key, but it still sounds sad.

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by Reviewer: Fernando Canto (blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct])

Faith contained some experimentation with The Cure's sound, while pretty much picking up where the previous album left off, so it's mostly slow, borderline-droning tempos and very bittersweet melodies that dominate.

When it comes down to it though, none of the experiments with the band's style really hold up all that well on their own. After all, it's only within the grooves of this awkward album that the hazy depression of "The Funeral Party" could successfully resolve into the superfast agression of "Doubt" without sounding the least bit incongruous.

So Faith is a truly unique affair - practically all The Cure's stages and sounds are represented at least once on the album ("The Funeral Party" would've fitted fine on Disintegration) - it's like a 40-minute biography of the band.

By this point, the band had gone back to being a three-piece, as Hartley left during the Seventeen Seconds tour. It pretty much goes without saying though, that anyone who liked the band's previous album will like this one as well.

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by Reviewer: Austin