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