It's often said that most American guitar bands would be a lot better if they were actually British, and this album manages to capture the feel of both of the above scenes, while retaining it's own very English, very Cure feel, which of course only The Cure can do !!
The album opens up with Open. Ha ! Ha ! and guess what ? It ends with End !!! Such joviality from such a serious band !
Being serious, Open kicks off with a bass guitar intro that Peter Hook (New Order) would sell his grandmother for, then thumping drums come crashing in, finally the bass intro drops down to deeper booming notes, the lead guitar kicks in - and we're away !!! This song sets the scene for what remains the bands heaviest, almost purely guitar-driven album. The song is basically about getting extremely drunk, thankfully because it's The Cure this is handled in an extremely intelligent way (i.e. he's NOT singing "tequila, it makes me happy" like some other crappy band whose name I have forgotten did...). If you've ever got so drunk you fell over and puked then you'll identify with this and no doubt have a bit of a wry smile while listening to it.
Next up is a jangly pop tune called High which was a chart success and sees The Cure's patented 6-string-bass-as-a-lead-guitar sound make it's debut on this particular album.
Apart slows things down a little and features some very nice guitar sounds (the doors of the recording room were opened and the amplifiers were miked from outside, giving a very "spacey" sound).
From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea follows and has a killer lead guitar riff which repeats all the way through the song. The song stops in the middle, except for the bass, accoustic guitar and a bit of percussion and suddenly everything kicks back in with the most amazing phazed guitar solo you will ever hear, which veers crazily from side to side between your speakers/headphones in "surround sound" style. Very trippy, very funky, and it shows the bands love of Jimi Hendrix to full effect !! This is one of the greatest songs in The Cure's catalogue.
Wendy Time is clearly influnced a bit by what was the then recent Madchester movement and has funky-dancey drums and the obligatory Madchester style organ !!
Doing The Unstuck is the killer single that never was. It's a crime that this was never released instead of A Letter To Elise, which just didn't work as a single. There must be about 20 different guitars playing all throughout this song and it is really the most singalong style track on the album (especially the chorus), even more so than the next song which is....Friday I'm In Love.
Friday is a jangly pop track in the mould of The Beatles, The Byrds, The Stone Roses, The La's - that kind of thing. It was a huge chart hit and it's amazing and you really should not need me to tell you how good it is.
Trust changes the album into a bit more of a serious mood, with it's almost classical piano. It's a bit of a pity that they used a keyboard to replicate the sound of an orchestra on here (although it's very authentic) it just doesn't sound as good as maybe having a string quartet or something on it. It's still a very welcome song, almost a reprise of Homesick from Disintegration.
A Letter To Elise has a touch of REM to it (in their accoustic-y with some lightly distorted guitar moments!) and maintains a very delicate feel, especially with the toy piano.
Cut is the hardest song on the whole album. Starting off with a deceptive viola (I think...?) introduction before very fast thrashy drums crash in and the whole song roars along with copious amounts of heavy feedback and wah-wah guitars. This is a very Nirvana-esque song, if Jimi Hendrix had played guitar for them.
To Wish Impossible Things rounds up the albums softer moments, built around a lilting 6-string-bass arpeggio and some light percussion. A viola drifts in and out of the song setting most of the mood. This song quite truly sounds like a sunset !
It's back to the hard stuff for the final song, End.
This is another song where a main lead-part is maintained throughout the song to catchy effect. This time an identical bassline and guitar line are synchronised to give an extremely meaty sound, with additional guitars soaring in majestically every now and then. The vocals also have a great reverse-echo effect used on them, which sees the words echoing before they have even been sung (there's probably a technical term for this, but I don't know it if there is one.) and the guitar solo in the middle is all reversed as well.
As with a few Cure albums this may not be the best choice as your first purchase, UNLESS you are heavily into guitar based music then go ahead and buy it right now. Otherwise, if you are looking for The Cure's moodier, more gothic or more synth-orientated albums this probably won't suit you.
Personally I happen to think this is one of The Cure's best 3 albums (Disintegration, Bloodflowers and this) so really the best thing you can do is buy all three of them.
I got through 'Open' (one of the louder songs, with Robert sounding positively deranged at points), 'High' (which, in my opinion, shouldn't have gone on the greatest hits: it's not one of their best, just the poppiest on the album) and 'Apart' (slowed down and quite depressive, but very good) liking all the songs but being fairly indifferent, but it was 'From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea', 'Wendy Time' and 'Doing The Unstuck' which gave me a wake-up call as to how good 'Wish' actually is.
The guitar and bassline repeat most of the way through the song, matching the imagery of the lyrics perfectly. Suddenly, halfway through, the song slows right down, before building up to an amazing climax of the same guitar solo mixed with fantastic distortion effects, which make you wonder how the same band managed to release 'A Letter To Elise' (see below) as a single.
'Wendy Time' comes next, a mass of addictive distorted guitars and catchy vocals. According to the lyrics inside the liner there should be an extra verse to this song, but as it is quite long due to the guitar solos, it's not too much of a loss.
'Doing The Unstuck' is the definitive 'happy song'. With lyrics proclaiming 'It's a perfect day for letting go' and 'Kick out the gloom, kick out the blues, tear out the pages with all the bad news', it must be. It has possibly the most catchy chorus of all time.
'Friday I'm In Love', like 'High', is a catchy, poppy single which really isn't as good as much of the stuff on here. It's sugary and forgettable enough to be a good single, but after listening to it a few times you realise how superior many of the other songs are.
'Trust' is one which really grows on you after a while. It's a lot slower than most of the songs (the only tempos on this album seem to be 'fast and thrashy' or 'slow and depressive'--which isn't an entirely bad thing), and has a looped keyboard sequence which runs throughout. It takes a long time to start, but after a couple of listens you'll be hooked.
'A Letter To Elise' is the single that should never have been. It's slow and gloomy, but this time in a bad way, and sounds like the soundtrack to a weepy teen movie. Why the band didn't release 'Doing The Unstuck' instead is a mystery to me.
Next comes 'Cut', which in my opinion is one of the best on here. It's very fast and thrashy ,but still manages to be very Cure-like. Features the most addictive bassline ever. This song is absolutely packed with drums and waily guitars of every description, slowing down as each verse comes in.
Everything is slowed right down for 'To Wish Impossible Things'. The sound is quite minimal, with echoing guitar/bass in the bckground, and a haunting viola melody winding its way throughout. Beautiful.
It's a case of 'save the best till last' here. 'End' has haunting lyrics sung with a reverse echo effect (mentioned in someone else's review), and a gorgeous guitar melody which repeats the whole way through. It builds up and up towards the end, then with squeals of guitar feedback and hissing, it ends abruptly.
I listen to 'Wish' at least twice a week. I really don't think it gets enough credit, being in the shadow of 'Pornography' and 'Disintegration', which are very very good, but...not 'Wish'.
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