Pornography (Deluxe Edition)

Pornography (Deluxe Edition)

Each Cure album headed towards a darker, denser corner and with their fourth album, 1982’s Pornography, the group made a controversial masterpiece, an album so extreme that it polarized fans and critics. Singer Robert Smith turned his quiet, ethereal trio into a pulverizing wall of sound with the guitars and keyboards pinned beyond the breaking point and the drums reverberating until they resembled explosives. With their hairstyles growing wilder and their clothes and make-up sporting an androgynous tone, the Cure were defining not just the musical but the cultural style of the Gothic moment. But the songs at the heart of this sonic and fashion revolution were shockingly ominous. “It doesn’t matter if we all die,” begins “One Hundred Years,” Pornography’s air-raid siren opener, and from there, things grow darker. “The Hanging Garden,” “Siamese Twins” and “The Figurehead,” where Smith proffers “I will never be clean again,” form an emotional downward spiral that twists into complete dissonance for the closing title track. The expanded edition includes bootleg-quality live tracks and home demos that show how essential Phil Thornalley’s production was to the final product. Hearing these gothic anthems reduced to rudimentary demo form, however, is compelling for anyone intrigued by Robert Smith’s creative process.

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