14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Top - Deluxe Edition (Audio CD)
Perhaps one of my favourite Cure albums this, though essentially a solo effort from Robert Smith who at the time was teetering on the edge of thoroughly exhausted madness. It's kind of echoed in the music too, which at times displays Smith's more memorable and quirky song writing sensibilities, but at the same time is rather dark, twisted and schizophrenic. I guess this is the case with most Cure music, but above all this album pushes Smith's musical influences to the forefront considerably and personally I believe this to be a good thing!
So the overall feel is highly psychedelic, notably Shake Dog Shake, Piggy in the Mirror and Bananafishbones, the latter displaying most signs with its garagey drums and descending bass motif. And lets face it, with a title like that, which though has its origins in literature I believe, could be the name of a Captain Beefheart track. Piggy in the mirror also should be noted for its apparent use of Hammond Organ which to my knowledge you don't get much of in Cure music. This also lends it a 60's retro touch, which is most welcome.
The album also contains some of The Cure's most lovely and melodious moments such as Birdmad Girl and The Caterpillar. The former is so bright and breezy and perfectly poppy you smile, tap your foot and nod your head unfailingly with every listen. The Caterpillar meanwhile is probably the most 'acoustic sounding' track the band has produced - it skips along prettily like a butterfly (a deliberate move obviously), with fluttering acoustic strings and multi - layered percussion and again the melody is quite delicious! Also its one track in the Cure canon that wears a Nick Drake influence firmly on its sleeve, a great Smith influence that is rarely evident in the majority of the band's history.
A few curiosities are also chucked in the mix... Dressing Up, which suggests the era more than the majority of the album in it's sound, is an almost 80s sounding soul ballad. Smith's vocals cascade drunkenly over the top in a Billy Mackenzie like drawl, giving most evidence of his vocal experimentation across this set of songs. And preceding this track is the fierce Give Me it, which is one of the most angry and ferocious songs that the Cure has recorded, and given that the album proper previous to this was Pornography, that's saying quite a bit!
The second disc packaged with this deluxe edition has its fair degree of interest though I'm not sure how often it would be played. The demo versions are generally not dissimilar to the final versions but are mere sketches and feel incomplete... and let's face it not as good! This not being the case with all the reissues of course. The RS home demo of 10.15 Saturday Night on the Three Imaginary Boys Deluxe Edition has incredible charm for instance. But this doesn't really matter, this is worth getting for the main album and the packaging for the reissues is quite splendid too, and at the price it is at the moment is certainly well worth a purchase.