7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A combination of The Cure's best styles, without the "pop"!!,
This review is from: Bloodflowers (CD) (Audio CD)
As the years go by, most bands start producing poorer and poorer albums. Quite the opposite is true of The Cure. 23 years after their debut album was released, Bloodflowers is a culmination of everything they do best, bringing their greatest styles and the best songs they have ever written together.
This album was passed over by the media at the time of it's release, mostly due to the lack of publicity given by Polydor. (The Cure refused to allow any singles to be released so Polydor in turn refused to promote the album).
The album kicks off with Out Of This World, a soothing jaunt through New Order-esque (not them again!!!) territory. A lovely shimmering lead-guitar riff plays over summery accoustic guitars and organs and the greatest piano playing you will ever hear takes us into the chorus (it's basically a climb in scale from the left of the piano to the right of the piano, but played very fast and very well!).
Next up is Watching Me Fall. This sees the band returning to the Nirvana-ish sound of the Wish album, with it's extremely distorted guitars and loops of feedback, although at 11:13 in length it's way more accomplished than anything Nirvana ever did (and more "English") sounding. This is the first song where the increasingly used sequencers are noticeable. The use of sequencers builds throughtout the album and while some may bemoan the lack of a "live band" feel I happen to think they embellish the songs a great deal and in fact think they "make" the songs. And after all, this ISN'T a live album....
You'll notice them most on Maybe Someday and on the awesome introduction to 39.
I think Watching Me Fall would have been better as the lead track, but many of the songs have a very similar sound/feel to Out Of This World so I suppose the band didn't want to lump too many similar sounding songs one after the other which is fair enough.
Where The Birds Always Sing goes back to the feel of the first song and reintroduces the orchestra-like synthesiser sound that was prominent on the Disintegration album. Maybe Someday is the first song to lift the tempo a bit and starts off with a cracking lead guitar riff and sequenced drums before the real drums and bass guitar kick in abruptly. It's also got a fantastic backwards whammy-barred-guitar loop that plays throughout the song towards the end of every line Robert sings. I think this is the song that shows The Cure creative use of technology. Most guitar bands use sequencers to make dance songs (or add a dance element). Maybe Someday is very much a true guitar band song with live drums, live guitars, live bass, live keyboards (lovely organ solo which makes a great change from guitar solos!!) but it also has loops of guitar chords playing under the main track, a drum loop (which happens to make the live drums sound even better when they kick in) and other various little noises.
The Last Day Of Summer sees the tempo abruptly drop back to the sound of the first song and it's really got pretty much the same sound, with the now familiar 6-string bass (played as a "lead guitar" sound) and piano.
There Is No If sounds like it was recorded in about 5 minutes simple because there doesn't seem to be many instruments playing on it ! I assume drummer Jason Cooper was on holiday or something when they made this as there are no drums and no noticeable live percussion that he could have played. It's by far the weakest song on the album and I would have been very interested to see how it would sounded if they'd given it more of a "full band" sound. As it is, it sounds like Robert Smith has done it all himself. (Plus I think he's done the whole "I said", "She said" thing on quite enough records now thank you very much !!).
Next is The Loudest Sound for which you may as well just read the comments for the previous song, as no live drums or live bass guitar can be heard and guitarist Perry Bamonte doesn't seem to appear at all (There's only a 6-string bass on this track and it's definitely played by Robert Smith). The only difference is that this song is actually really brilliant so the previous comments don't matter as much.
39 is the "hardest" song on the album, with the awesome sequencer and bass guitar intro, plus the distorted guitars are back!! Again, it's very Nirvana-esque with a bit of a goth edge. The only slight criticism I have is that I think the song could have been a minute or two shorter (it lasts 7:18). It's a fantastic song until it runs it's course, but just at the right moment where they should have ended the track it goes back and does a reprise for a couple of minutes and it's a part of the song that just doesn't have the same feeling of excitement when it's replayed again for the umpteenth time in the song. Perhaps it's irony as the most repeated lyric just happens to be "The fire is almost out and there's nothing left to burn". It is pretty amusing though for such a serious song when he sings "....there's nothing left to burn, not even THIS:" and it launches into a kick-ass guitar solo !!!
Last song is Bloodflowers which happens to be their greatest song ever. Thundering rythmic drums, grinding bass guitar (although I wish it was a bit louder), a spooky keyboard line, hypnotic 6-string bass, an even more spookier middle-8 and the bands best guitar solo since Wish's From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea.
In all how much you this album will depend on whether you like their poppier or "gloomier" stuff. If it's the latter then it's the greatest album you could ever purchase.