Just when The Cure were turning into the ultimate wrist-slitting Goth band, they release ... this? This is frigging synth-happy 1980's dance music! Yuck!
Granted, Japanese Whispers
is a compilation of singles, rather than an actual 'album' - it's quite apparent Robert Smith was trying to score big in the commercial market with dance tunes. But these are 1984 dance tunes, with syncopated drum and bass rhythms, buzzy ping-pingy synths, and drum machines that go 'plop, PISSHH, ploppa, PISSHH', kinda like on Queen's Hot Space
, but sounding even more dated. From the very first seconds of most of these tracks, you'll remember the days of your youth in the eighties in the most hilarious way possible.
Still, most of this stuff is quite good! There isn't any really bad songs here, and even the datedness doesn't really make the music stink. Of course, you might just hate this kind of music, or your Gothicness might be deeply offended by the sight of this record, in which case I can't help. But it is
good - not sensational, but good.
That's because Robert Smith and his pals didn't just set the synths and drum-machines on auto-pilot and improvised some playing over the results - they clearly wrote
this stuff. As such, "Let's Go To Bed" for example has a cool syncopated bassline and a sticky little synth riff, and "The Dream" is a festival of untrivial opposing rhythms battling constantly, peppered with a bendy / buzzy synth riff, the classic 'ping ping' synth sound, along with some dorky 'woo woo' chords.
I guess the worst track, or - more properly - my least favourite, is "The Walk", because it's dated really badly. The buzzy riff sounds totally ridiculous nowadays, and it's just not a very catchy song anyway.
by Reviewer: Fernando Canto
(blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct]