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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 14 March 2000
I first got this on LP from my brother in the late eighties when I was 15 or 16 and have been listening to it ever since. In an age where over production is the norm, the almost minimalistic sound, quirky riffs, Smith's jerky vocals and off-beat subject matter still make Three Imaginary Boys a breath of fresh air. As one of the Cure's ealiest works, it captures them in post-punk, pre-gothic mode. The tracks it features will (sadly) never be remembered as the Cure's finest, though songs such as 10:15 Saturday Night, Fire in Cairo, Acuracy and Meat Hook will always stand up against later classics such as Love Cats. Sadly, my turntable has passed away but this is one of the few LP's I have that I've also bought on CD..... need I say more?
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on 13 May 2005
This is pre goth Cure at its best. This sounds surpassingly modern today. Just compare what band like Bloc Party and Hot Hot Hot Heat are doing today to the sound of The Cure in 1979. Want to hear where Razorlight got their Golden Touch? Just listen to 10.15 Saturday Night. Songs such as Fire in Cairo and Accuracy are angular new wave guitar pop. Three Imaginary Boys and Another Day are the sound of the birth of goth. Object is an enjoyable piece of the Cure try punk. Despite a dodgy cover version (Michael Dempsey sung 'Foxy Lady)' this is a forgotten all time classic album.
The bonus discs highlights are the non album classics, Boys Don't Cry and Jumping Someone Else's Train. Here are also very rough demos of some of the album tracks. These are quite interesting insights into the composition of the finished songs. A glaring omission however is the excellent 'Killing an Arab' single.
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on 24 July 2004
The best way I cxan describe this album is that listening to it is like spending a Friday night sitting in on a band finding their feet rehearsing their set and you gradually realise they are magnificent.
My brother bought this record in 1979 after seeing the band at the Marquee, and after our initial fascination with the cover and anonymous songs fell in love with it. It was the first album of the post-punk era to be unashamedly catchy and yet safely uncommercial, a very difficult balance to strike.
The atmopshere is incredibly gloomy and yet in a very believeable way, not as some art-student pose. The gloom is in the mood more than the lyrics. And best of all, the band display a fine sense of humour that makes this album their most diverse collection of songs.
10.15 is a classic piece of introspection, incredibly assured: a character and mood is established within about 10 seconds thanks to the precision yet not virtuoso playing and the like most of the record it sounds deceptively effortless.
One of the best tracks for me is Another Day, one of the bleakest but most distrinctive moments. And Subway Song is an instant classic and will always remain a great party trick piece.
Fire in Cairo and Grinding Halt are bright yet dark snappy tracks, but the two stand out tracks on the second half of the record are the title track and the extraordinary So What? Over a slick and catchy tune Smith drunkenly reads out the words on the back of a bag of sugar, occasionally wandering into something else, perhaps the original lyrics? It's a brilliant, self-deprecating moment that could have started a whole trend! And it's oddly infectious after a few listens, as well as being very funny.
And the title track is absolutely beautiful, and heartbreaking.
The album's real trick though is the occasional rough edge, the sounds of tuning up and larking-about, which heighten the tightness of the actual picees and never mar the moods of the songs, but instead give the record a feel of sitting in on an exciting session, the magic of which is all in the moment.
And the cover of Foxy Lady is fun too, despite what many people think!
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on 5 January 2008
i felt i had to write in, as i'm just re-listening to it and i'm realising that there isn't one single track that i would skip- and i can't think of one other album in my 500 or so of which that's true- even blood on the tracks [come on lily, rosemary and the jack of hearts is OK, but only that].

fortunately these reviewers above have done the album justice, but i just wanted to add how brilliant, beautiful and charming this record is. i love the way he sings and he is a truly exceptional and innovative guitarist whose style can be seen in loads of what later came to be indie music from blur, mogwai and bloc party and so on.

this is definitely their best record and it works so well as there is a real flavour of all the different moods and styles they would play with over the years.

i partly wanted to write this cos i recently read that book on post punk 'rip it up and start again' that gave two paragraphs to the cure in over 550 pages- AND dismissed them as goth-lite no more than second rate siouxie and the banshees. this is an absolute travesty! make no mistake along with 'entertainment!' 'unknown pleasures' 'jeopardy'[another sadly overlooked classic] 'metal box' 'pink flag' 'crocodiles' 'singles going steady'... etc this is one of the few landmarks of that era.

wonderful angular [bass-driven] pop- my absolute favourite type of music. this record can be heard in so much alternative music that followed it- for me most interestingly in more recent times in razorlight [mixed with a bit of talking heads & television]. however that would be irrelevant if it weren't such a well written playful literate joyful and at times poignant gem of a record- something about robert smith is quite amazing in his ability to evoke certain feelings and mood- a bona fide class blending of pop, punk, post-punk, garage, crooning, nightmare chamber pieces and 'throwaway' fun that still fits together so perfectly- yet i still get surprised, even after all these listens!
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on 15 May 2009
When I started to listen to the Cure I had only heard their "Friday I'm In Love" song, so basically I thought all of their songs were like that. I decided to start off with their very first album. At first I was a bit skeptical about it, it didn't sound at all as I'd expect it to sound! But then it grew on me and now I really really love it. Someone said it is very addictive, and I must admit, it indeed is! A great album by a great band :-) I highly recommend this one !
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on 4 February 2001
On the basis of this album NME called the Cure "the new Beatles". It is so, so fast and exciting - probably the best punk-with-talent album of all - and so different (and infinitlely better IMHO to anything they ever did afterwards. Buy it!
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on 20 March 2011
This is the Cure at their best. The remastered album is excellent quality. The music has a simplicity and rawness which makes it so much more listenable than so much of the over produced rock that finds its way onto Cds. I saw the Cure live back in the early 80's and this album brings back youthful memories. The Cure are one of the few bands that can use silence to emphasise the music. Each instrument is given the space it needs in each song to play its part in the whole. The sound is so unique - if you haven't heard the Cure before then this is the place to start.
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on 4 November 2014
The Cure's first studio album, and what a classic it is.

Nearly every track is a stunning punk pop masterpiece, and it's worth buying for the superb track Object alone, one of the best three minute pop masterpieces, I cannot believe this wasn't a single release it's that good.

You could say they laid the groundwork for New Wave with this album.

They then went on to create Gothic Music with their second album Seventeen Seconds.

Very, very good and highly recommended.
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on 11 September 2006
I bought this record in 1979, I sold my copy on ebay today - big regrets but I have no record player and to be honest it got a bit worn out being played every week from the date of purchase until about 1986.

So why is this record so god damn special, perhaps it's the guitar breaks that take me back to the excitement of 1979. The lyrics which bounce around in my head for days. Or just the fond memories of walking past morgan studios, in willesden green nw10 , after getting a chinese takaway, they had the record sleeve in the window for months after the record was released. Funny old world isn't it
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on 14 January 2015
I personally love this album as its their first. This is a mixture of punk/indie. You can tell they were finding their feet with this record. Maybe a bit pretentious and try hard in places, but we all have to start somewhere!!
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