Review Summary: Faith is a brooding album that takes a few listens to truely appreciate
What can one say about the Cure? After 2 pretty well received albums, they’ve yet to have that one classic song they’ll be remembered by. Unfortunately, those songs won’t start piling up for another few years.
In the mean time, the Cure busied themselves creating some of the most terrifyingly beautiful music ever made. Starting with the gloomy “Seventeen Seconds”, moving onto the heart breaking “Faith” and finishing on the violent and angry “Pornography”, the Cure weren’t always the happy poppy band they seem to casual listeners. They had to get a few matters closed off first, before they’d go onto record “Inbetween Days”, “The Lovecats” and “Friday I’m In Love”. The album “Faith” is Robert Smiths cry for help, or faith if you will.
Track by track review:
The Holy Hour - 4/5
From the opening bass line, this track pulls you in and doesn’t let go. Apparently written about holy communion from Smiths youth as a catholic, it pretty much sums up the mood of the entire album. Gentle synths drift by over a cloud of bass and simple guitar lines. Smiths vocal take on this song even sounds like he’s crying for faith, a beautiful start to the album.
Primary - 4/5
The “Play for Today” of “Faith”, it’s a generally upbeat track on an otherwise gloomy record. Lyrically, Smith is still in the mood set aside for the album, but the music itself makes you want to get up and dance. With the signature Cure beat, and the jumpy bass line, it’s a marvel it works so well on “Faith”.
Other Voices - 3/5
A slower track than the last, and a bit more experimental, the track kicks in with a Smith scream that almost refuses to let itself die out. Instrumentally, the song is a joy to behold, but Smith really phones in on the lyrics, especially compared to other songs on the album. Full of unfinished guitar lines and broken voice samples, it almost lovingly hands itself over to the next song.
All Cats Are Grey - 5/5
Tied for the best song on the album, Robert is back with a number of simple synthesiser lines that really add to the ambient and “out of this world” sound the band have perfected here. Based upon the simplest of drum lines, the song moves slowly into the vocal section, and before you know it, the vocals are through and you’ve listened to the song for the full 5.30. Gallup resists the urge to add more than is needed to the song, and it works wonderfully in the way it is demonstrated. The lyrics are one of few songs where Smith didn’t write them personally, and I couldn’t be happier with how simple and fitting they are.
The Funeral Party - 5/5
Smith comes straight in with an almost aggressive, when compared to the keys work on the rest of the album, chord sequence that doesn’t hold anything back. The song is the strongest in terms of lyrics on the album, and Gallups soft bass notes only add to the heartbreaking melody and lyrics. Drums are again restrained on this song, but they work so well you don’t seem to care. This is definitely one song Smith should be proud of, and using moods instead of notes and rhythms to create the music would soon become a trademark of the Cure. The song drifts along and segues quietly into...
Doubt - 3/5
The band is back on their standard vocals, guitar, bass and drums line up for the most aggressive and angry song on the album. The song is lyrically pretty strong, as well as on the bass front, but one would think this song would fit better on the next album, “Pornography”. Luckily, the sudden break in mood is cut short as it’s the shortest song on the album.
The Drowning Man - 4/5
Based on a book Smith read in High School, and a guitar riff as sad as anything else on the album, this song drifts by on a rhythm section doing what they do best: Rhythms. It seems that no instrument really wants to take the foreground, so they are pushed back and Smith is left alone with a reverb layered vocal and a pleading voice we are all accustomed to. Smiths lyrics deal with someone drowning in a flood, although one would do well not to take Roberts lyrics literally.
Faith - 4/5
I’ve always thought a great way to end an album is to take the biggest, most impressive song you’ve got and stick it at the end, finishing with a bang. The Cure obviously doesn’t think the same way as me. “Faith” closes the album in the same way “The Holy Hour” opened it: with a bass line that Smith grooves along to. Famous for having lyrics improvised on stage, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what Smith did here on the record. The song is one of the strongest lyrical songs The Cure have ever released. It deals with the entire theme of the album, a lose of faith, and a longing to find it. Built over a simple drum beat with a little flanger on it, the song drifts by with Simon’s bass filling in the space that they no doubt would have left free on their first album. A strong ending, but only because it works well within the album.
Overall, “Faith” is a different side of the Cure casual listeners would not expect. Out of the “Dark Trilogy”, “Faith” is definitely a strong starting point, as it acts as a bridge from the quiet “Seventeen Seconds” to the anger “Pornography”. Only you can decide which road to take after that...
The Holy Hour
All Cats Are Grey
The Funeral Party
For the more dedicated fan:
The Drowning Man
Thanks for reading, and I hope the review was somewhat helpful.