Q Magazine
Peter Kane
reproduced without permission

The recurring beef with Mike Leigh's movies is that too often he opts for the crude stereotype in preference to more subtle characterisation. No surprises, then, that in Career Girls, his latest, the musical choice for the protagonists, Annie and Hannah, during their college lives is The Cure. Who better to provide the soundtrack to the fumble out of adolescence; the cider swilling, beans-on-toast fuelled social competence that, for many, passes for student life and sometimes beyond? After all, Robert Smith has been working this patch for 20 years now, going from stricken young post-punk from Crawley with a weakness for the Boots cosmetic counter, to a genuinely global, stadium-sized star. And still he has the smudgy lips. What might have been simply a protracted exercise in narcissism has instead been deftly turned into the hesitant but reassuring voice of the perennial outsider. At heart he's just a big old romantic; a slave to the thrill of anticipation more than the done deed, because it's bound to end in tears. It always does, as Pictures Of You isn't slow to point out.

Galore simply takes up the baton where Staring At The Sea left off in 1986: a chronological collection of the past decade's singles starting with the brassy, romping Why Can't I Be You? right through to the pristine Wrong Number. Wisdom has it that much like Henry Ford's apocryphal sales pitch (any colour so long as it's black), The Cure have worked from a similarly exclusive funereal palette. The evidence of the spunky Hot Hot Hot!!!, the unrequited jollity of Just Like Heaven and, best of all, the 215 seconds of refined pop pleasure that is Friday I'm In Love, however, tell rather a different tale. While the albums as a whole have never exactly been a bunch of sunbeams, their singles have rarely been less than quirkily accessible and partial to cheesy flourishes, such as the off the wall trumpeting on the Close To Me remix.

Last year's Wild Mood Swings suggested Robert Smith might finally be having trouble staying 17 forever, a point borne out by the underwhelming Gone and Strange Attraction. Indeed, whether the never ending puberty and the spidery, fairy tale weirdness can continue to be considered suitable subject matter for a man who turns 40 in 1999 remains to be seen. In the meantime there's quite enough for any self-respecting Freudian to be getting on with here.


Last Revised: Monday, 15-May-2006 15:00:08 CDT

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