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Pornography (Deluxe Edition)

The Cure

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Album Review

"First time available on CD" is often a way of putting a spin on words like "scraps" or "rubbish." This is the case with the second disc of Rhino's Pornography reissue. Like all the deluxe editions of the Cure's back catalog, the album is packaged with a spectacular layout containing plenty of photos and biographical liner notes, but the decision to compile the band's B-sides on the quadruple-disc Join the Dots — allowing room for an abundance of lesser material for each album reissue's second disc — means that a lot of fans will feel short-changed. Many of them only want a few B-sides from a specific era, rather than a box set spanning 24 years and a pile of mere curiosities attached to the new edition of each album. (Doing it the other way around, with the B-sides on the album reissues and the other stuff slapped together for a box set, would've made too much sense; granted, it wouldn't have been the wisest business move.) The second disc here contains half the album in bootleg-quality live form, pulled from a pair of 1982 gigs. Again, only the most rabid followers will want to hear any of these tracks more than once, save for "All Mine," which might be remembered from the cassette-only Curiosity. "Airlock" (a short-film score/extended mood piece, not a patch on Carnage Visors) and a handful of demos are in the same territory, though the demos do highlight the change that came when production help shifted from Michael Hedges to Phil Thornalley. When stacked against their final-version counterparts, the demos are far more gentle and not nearly as sharp. This also indicates why Pornography was in need of remastering for so long; the battering drums and acidic guitars didn't translate so well on the initial CD edition. In fact, a few seconds of "The Hanging Garden" ought to make the second-disc bores forgettable, if not forgivable.

Biography

Formed: 1976 in Crawley, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Out of all the bands that emerged in the immediate aftermath of punk rock in the late '70s, few were as enduring and popular as the Cure. Led through numerous incarnations by guitarist/vocalist Robert Smith (born April 21, 1959), the band became well-known for its slow, gloomy dirges and Smith's ghoulish appearance, a public image that often hid the diversity of the Cure's music. At the outset, the Cure played jagged, edgy pop songs before slowly evolving into a more textured outfit. As one of the...
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