The Cure
Faith


3.5
great

Review

by Thomas Bambaataa Ghidrah Towers USER (67 Reviews)
September 7th, 2006 | 28 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist


A spectral sweep of gray over a distant smudge of a church is the stark image on the cover of Faith. That pretty much sums up the mood of the album itself. The Cure’s debut as a peppy post-punk band seemed nearly nonexistent on this third album, everything stripped down to make a gentle atmosphere that The Cure would perfect five albums later on Disintegration. The transition from upbeat jangly pop to minimal synth-driven gloominess was somewhat lopsided with the sophomore Seventeen Seconds. Though The Cure would get drearier and also return to pop, Faith stands out as a landmark of the Cure finding themselves as a darker band. Is it a coincidence that at the same time they adopted their trademark goth image, and essentially became a suicidal drug-addled band a year after?

Well, an album known mainly for being front man Robert Smith’s cry from his lack of faith and difficulty finding it shouldn’t really be a sign of good times ahead. While it’s more popular successor Pornography screamed ghoulish feelings and sent a general message of complete misery, Faith stood in a place of uncertainty. Smith wants faith, but he also wants to tell stories that cloud your sunshine. He wants to have his cake and eat it too. The title track basically sums this feeling up, hinting at wanting to change, but never actually taking action towards, nor condemning the state he’s in. Faith is the final moment of calmness before restless rage kicks in.

Musically, The Cure pull a curve ball chronologically. Their first album Three Imaginary Boys (or the nearly identical Boys Don’t Cry made for the US) was a rush of amateur post-punk tightly bundled in a trio. Seventeen Seconds followed with a fourth member and an expansion sonically. Minus the fourth member here, poor Smith is left to guitar and keyboard duties, while the rhythm section gives off a mellow hollow sound that dominates the core of each song. The metallic bass and wandering drums leave eerily quiet moments in the bare groove.

Instead of gloating in the fact that he has all of the lead instruments for himself to make a megalomaniacal shred fest with synthesized improve, Smith’s work is shy, mingling with the sparse atmosphere. Smith’s early trademark jangly guitar still jangles, but on an introverted level, like R.E.M. playing at a funeral. Smith’s stumpy baritone guitar doesn’t perk up often, but when it does it brings the pep from their first album on faster songs like Primary and Doubt.

Faith’s midpoint(s) All Cats are Grey and The Funeral Party are the highest points of the album. The main problem with Faith is its lack of form in songs. As a whole, it comes together nicely, but with individual songs with generally sluggish pace aren’t very to listen to; one has to be in a faith mood to listen (and I don’t mean leather jacket, grizzled face and jukebox mood). However, All Cats are Grey doesn’t need form. Its few lyrics within a span of five and a half minutes go unnoticed in the ethereal, ambient, humming synths. It feels like a break, like the peaceful A Warm Place in Nine Inch Nails relentlessly violent The Downward Spiral. The Funeral Party is similar, but triumphantly symphonic, picking up the pace after quiet time with its preceding track. Smith’s voice in both songs show a new sophistication, refining his British singing from the more moaning and boyishness of before.

Ringing with ominous placidity in a wretched state of mind, Faith isn’t the best place to start with the Cure. Its murky jigsaw puzzle songs that come together to form a murkier overall stick doesn’t stick immediately, slow-burning without any genuine pop hits or over-the-edge mantras to leave a direct impression on a new listener. To an experienced listener, Faith is very toned down, and tightly stripped compared to what has maintained the Cure’s legacy (one of their legacies, at least) as a lavished and orchestral sad band. Though having moments of succinct angst, and beautiful anti-climaxes, nothing else can be considered a highlight at all. Just like its cover, Faith is a morbidly grey album with slight tilts on the shade scale. But I’m colour blind, it might as well be any colour for all I care.



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user ratings (485)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Major Tom (4)
Believe in The Cure…...

PostPunkFan (4.5)
Generally a brooding, atmospheric and sombre album....

NeoOrder (4)
Faith is a brooding album that takes a few listens to truely appreciate...


Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
September 7th 2006


4827 Comments


This is the only Cure album I've never heard a song off of.

Fantastical review, pulse.

Iluvatar
Emeritus
September 7th 2006


16089 Comments


Pretty good review I guess; The Funeral Party is the only Cure song I really like that I've heard.

monkey_dancer
September 8th 2006


127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review! I pretty much agree with you here. You're right about it not being a good place to start. But once you get into it its a really good album. Funnily enough, I'm also somewhat colourblind. The cover looks kinda pink...

Two-Headed Boy
September 8th 2006


4527 Comments


Great review. This seems interesting, but I'll start with some other essential listens before I get into this.

carrero
April 11th 2009


2 Comments


I think this review misses the point! This is perhaps The Cure´s finest album ever after "Disintegration". It does take a while to get into it thoroughly but if you read the lyrics (maybe Robert Smith´s most poetic words ever written), you begin to understand the artistic merit of this jewel of a record. It is minimalist and not commercial like some other Cure records later but that´s the magic of it. Its a TOTALLY uncompromised work of art that stands on its own in popular music history. One of the greatest dark-gray albums ever made! The Cure at its early peak pre-Disintegration. Start chronologically with The Cure; its the best and only way to grasp their magical evolution as a band leading up to their final masterpiece in 1989. Faith is a true classic. Read the lyrics and enjoy the atmosphere. Pure Poetry... This Message Edited On 04.11.09

analoguecrazy4
March 6th 2011


13 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This and Pornography are my favourite Cure albums. Faith is not as musically chaotic as Pornography and, as opposed to feeling paranoid and bleak, is more atmospheric and haunting. Defiantly as dark and gloomy as Pornography, but musically much more haunting. A criminally underrated album and the band's first real masterpiece.

Uranium
July 9th 2011


7388 Comments


This album is groovy baby

theashesfromautumn01
July 20th 2011


1031 Comments


my friend says doubt reminds him of scooby doo...i dont see it

Enotron
October 1st 2011


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

funeral party is so beautifully depressing

keesvdhema
November 12th 2011


7 Comments


nice review, i like the last line of it, and it's true. it's a grey album, but I'm colour blind

Mendross
November 13th 2011


426 Comments


I wonder if Funeral Party was inspiration for the Twin Peaks intro.

oWhoadYo
August 9th 2012


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

God, I love this album.

Spec
August 9th 2012


28428 Comments


Was gonna bump this album tonight no lie.

oWhoadYo
August 9th 2012


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It deserves bumps. Album is amazing. The Funeral Party is top 3 best Cure songs, without a doubt.

Mickeymau5
September 29th 2012


1614 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Funeral party is soul depressing, it's amazing

YoYoMancuso
November 12th 2012


11441 Comments


i have to bump this to a 5. easily my favorite album of their early phase.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2012


16388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ye good stuff

YoYoMancuso
November 12th 2012


11441 Comments


this album and Disintegration surpass everything else they've done by a long shot imo, although I'm probably the only one who thinks that

YoYoMancuso
November 12th 2012


11441 Comments


This might even be my favorite Cure

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2012


16388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

grey gloomy drizzly watercolors



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