was always going to have a difficult job balancing its appeal to both Cure fans old and new. The 'pop' Cure fans are served by a glossier production than the likes of Pornography
, but then many of them won't have heard that album anyway. Indeed, The Top
may have come across to fans of "The Lovecats" as just an album lacking good pop tunes.
On the other hand, fans of Pornography
will have lamented the glossier production and the definite loss in atmosphere as the band moved forwards. In truth, glossy production aside, this album does have more in common with Cure past than it did the pop tunes on Japanese Whispers
The tunes on this album don't seem to actually amount to anything, they're just a disparate collection of songs under the umbrella of the new sound of The Cure. It's a rockier sound in places, the mixing bringing out the guitars and drums better than in the past. Robert Smith himself doesn't seem to have changed much, his lyrics and vocals still mention blood and the like, but that doesn't matter when "Shake Dog Shake" - the 'blood' song in question - is quite thrilling, especially turned up loud on the old record player.
"Birdmad Girl" is a favourite of mine, the production is crystal clear, the classic Cure guitar sound is there, and it seems generally happy. "The Caterpillar" is an excellent tune too, on an album generally short of excellent tunes, and one that would've appealed to new pop-Cure fans, no question.
In marked contrast to "The Caterpillar", "The Empty World" is the usual Cure thing, with a vocal and lyric that sounds mournful etc, and that contrast is in a way an embroynic version of almost every Cure album that followed. It reveals what can be deduced in hindsight ... that The Top
was a transitional record, working as a bridge between Pornography
and The Head On the Door.Rated:
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews