Bloodflowers by The Cure

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Bloodflowers by The Cure
Bloodflowers by The Cure

Album Released: 2000

Bloodflowers ::: Artwork

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1.Out Of This World6:43
2.Watching Me Fall11:13
3.Where The Birds Always Sing5:44
4.Maybe Someday5:04
5.The Last Day Of Summer5:36
6.There Is No If ...3:43
7.The Loudest Sound5:09


I must say, after hearing Wild Mood Swings I thought The Cure were dead and buried, and wasn't expecting them to come back.

So the pre-release news about Bloodflowers confused me - that it was the third part of a now-trilogy, along with Pornography and Distintegration. Great I thought ... if they can pull it off. But then I thought they'd alienate a good portion of their post-Disintegration fanbase, those who'd grown up with Wish and Wild Mood Swings - the britpop generation.

Upon hearing the album, "Out Of This World" hardly impresses, its atmospherics ruined by poor production, a lack of detail, the absence of the layering of instrumentation that had made the sound and feel of Distintegration so rich, and the lack of simplicity that characterised Pornography. Robert Smith himself invited such comparisions by drawing them in the first place, pre-release.

Second tune, "Watching Me Fall" continues the album's almost complete lack of inviting melody - the guitars are swamped and indistinct, the vocals a mere tuneless dirge, the lyrics somewhow lacking any genuine conviction. As if the entire album is a mere exercise in winning the group more arty fans, to restore lost credibility after the mediocre Wild Mood Swings.

It doesn't work - so, what is this album even? It sounds like a rock/grunge band in slow motion, one with an unsuitable singer. I don't hold onto sacred cows, the history of The Cure is and should be irrelevant.

Thankfully, Bloodflowers does contain a couple of highlights. Firstly, "The Last Day of Summer" is a song that sports a proper Cure introduction, with genuinely appropriate lost and mournful-sounding Robert Smith vocals. The sound of the track still doesn't convince though - the keyboards are mixed down, the guitars sound strangely indistinct, although the bass does work, due to being a classic Cure-type bassline.

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

You know what? I've realised The Cure was a band that's always did music that was fashionable in its time - maybe not the music so much, but more the style of production employed. In the 80's, the band always had a distinctly 80's sound on every album, then the production style changed quite radically in the 90's, with Wish.

Their only album that sounds truly timeless is Disintegration, all the others have the sound of their year. And I realised this when I listened to Bloodflowers, because it has an obvious 2000 production style - the 'play your guitar as loudly and noisily as possible and compress the result so it sounds as loud as possible' style, one that Oasis liked so much. And that production style annoys the shit out of me.

Interestingly, Robert Smith claimed this album was part of a trilogy, along with Disintegration and Pornography. Whilst each album is titled with a single long word, I can't see why they otherwise represent a trilogy. Maybe they're the saddest albums in the band's catalogue? Possibly.

But my gripe is how is Bloodflowers related to Pornography and Disintegration? The former was just downright dark, sick and hopeless, even nihilistic. The latter was dubious, intriguing and poetic. This one is just ... obvious, deadly uniform. I think Smith completely forgot how it feels to be truly sad, because here he just sounds plain whiney and annoying. There just doesn't seem to be any variety here, it's just 'Hey, look at me on the album cover - I'm depressed' ... I can see how this album could've influenced Evanescence.

And this album isn't just 'uniform' in its themes, the music is samey too. Everywhere there's electric guitars strumming distorted chords and shrieking annoyingly, the 'slow' songs are as loud as the others, and there doesn't seem to be many melodies. Although Smith was never a master of melody, he could always find something special to put in his songs, but these songs just aren't very special. They're quite generic. He even tries to ressurrect the Cure 'spirit', with the trademark dangly-dangly guitar tone from "Plainsong", but I don't think it works.

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

Smith's last big unmitigated masterpiece had been Disintegration, and Wish was the last time he attempted anything truly new and interesting. It seemed it was all over for The Cure around the time of Wild Mood Swings.

Bloodflowers - allegedly the third in a 'dark trilogy', with Pornography and Disintegration - is not only far inferior to both those classics, but it's also derivative and unimaginative. Even so, I declare it to be a darn good album, one that no Cure fan will be easily disappointed by, regardless of the above disclaimers. Why be so picky that each album has to be something extremely exciting, when I'm so damned happy to hear a solid release of high-tech swirly tracks like the ones presented here.

All the idiotic day-glo yelling that categorized Wild Mood Swings gives way to a subtle whisper, along with some of the lushest shoegazer guitar-textures outside the first side of Disintegration. Sure, it's overlong and pretty much lacks any big memorable song to carry it off, but when I'm done with Bloodflowers, at least I know I've heard The Cure dammit, and not just because of that heavily treated picture of Smith that cackles out of the CD's artwork.

Smith sings about flowers dying and birds tweeting and cold rays of summer and other similar fugitives from a high school poetry club, just like he always has, and the grimy / echoey undulations of his ever-present guitar poke just the same buttons they always have. There's maybe slightly more of an acoustic guitar underpinning, and the drums always sound like the product of drumsticks rather than hard disks, leading to a tone more organic than I've heard from The Cure for some time.

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

Bloodflowers is sorta Disintegration Part II, as though Smith - having witnessed how fans were pissed after Wild Mood Swings struck out - decided to give them exactly what they wanted: an album of classic-sounding Cure.

So there's slow looming tempos, lengthy songs, the trademark 6-string bass riffs ... it's all here. Yet, as formulaic as it sounds, Bloodflowers is actually quite good, though there's nothing here that hasn't been heard before.

Smith isn't trying to 'develop' with Bloodflowers, he's just trying to please his audience, and that's very obvious. Still, it's a great album, and one of my personal favorites by The Cure.

by Reviewer: Austin