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19 September 2011

The Cure - 'Pornography' (Fiction)

Pornography is a deliberately bleak, dense record. All of the songs sound pretty much the same, and the band, still a trio, sounds huge thanks to overdubs, a scrupulous use of reverb, and the slow, plodding rhythms that eventually propel this record through its eight songs. Robert Smith has taken his great step away from the bouncy frontman of 'Boys Don't Cry' and towards the posturing foolishness of the late 80s. But here, it's balanced - the doom and gloom isn't that far beyond Factory output of the same period, though when the opening lyric of your album is 'It doesn't matter if we all die', it's pretty much the stuff "goth" is made up. I like Pornography a lot because of how relentless it is, and how it sits on the border of being overly sincere romantic body poetry and genuinely edgy yet bare sentiment from the imagistic planet that the Swans came from. Either way, it's honest, and Smith's guitar playing is just brilliant here. He's kept the long, sinewy notes of the first record but taken away the attack, without compromising the mood. It's decay all along and the monotonous rhythm (I think I criticised drummer Laurence Tolhurst for being kinda weak before, though really it's perfect, and while he moved to keyboards after this record, I sorta miss the plodding). Big hair and makeup are just around the corner, but I generally stop here, except whenever I hear 'In Between Days' I can't deny it's greatness.

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