During the mid-2000’s The Cure decided to remaster and re-release their back catalog, which they’re still doing now. These new releases come with a bonus disc of unreleased material, demos, and live performances. This review will only focus on the bonus disc. I already reviewed this album before and while it wasn’t my favorite, I must say I enjoyed the unreleased material a lot more. Granted, it’s not the best quality, it’s interesting to hear the band during their early years.
What’s great about this release is that it has a lot of previously unreleased songs that weren’t even included on their b-sides collection, so it’s actually worth listening to. Also, the songs are pretty good. I’d say most of them are better than what was released on their debut. Surprisingly, a lot of them have a punk rock sound. “I Want to Be Old” and “Heroin Face” both sound like The Cure goes punk. It’s kind of shocking to hear the fast guitar riffs, the speedy vocals, and all the energy since they’re regarded the Godfather’s of Goth music. Either way, the songs are pretty good, especially the latter one. It has this super heavy bass line that feels fit for a metal song. Definitely worth listening to at least once.
Two of the best songs from the release are “Faded Smiles” and “Play With Me.” The first song has a really upbeat guitar and bass riff that gets you moving, but it has this weird echo effect on the vocals that’s pretty annoying. Though it’s not as bad as the multi-layer echo effect they use on “I’m Cold.” The second song starts with a playful guitar riff that actually sounds similar to the riff from “Fire in Cairo.” It’s a really catchy song that seems to be about a boyfriend who is more like a pet for this girl and how he tells her everything she wants to hear.
Along with these songs there are a lot of demos of both unreleased and released songs. There’s not much to the demos, but again they’re interesting to hear. The best one is the demo for “10:15 Saturday Night.” What makes it so interesting is that there’s this keyboard that Smith plays around with and it gives the song a really creepy vibe. It actually sounds like an organ is playing on the track. Also, the song is much slower than we’re used to and I actually wish there was a more polished version of this track. You can also find early versions of “Fire in Cairo,” “It’s Not You,” and “Grinding Halt.” For the most part the songs sound similar to the final versions only with slightly different lyrics.
You can also find tracks, such as “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” that were only available on the American compilation release Boys Don’t Cry. There are also a few live tracks from their show in Nottingham 1979. The live performances aren’t that great and you care barely hear Smith singing due to all the talking in the background and the quality of the recording. Still, it’s nice to hear these songs live, especially since they are so rarely played on stage by the band anymore. The tracks that are featured live are “Accuracy,” “10:15 Saturday Night,” and “Subway Song.” Out of the three, “10:15 Saturday Night” is the best because there’s this cool and extended bass solo that pulls you into the song. I just wish they were in better quality.
Overall, the bonus disc gets 8/10. I would deemed this release worthy to get. Not only do you get songs that are not available on any other discs, the songs are actually worth hearing and something that you would listen to regularly. There are also demos and live tracks for Cureheads interested in the development of their early material. It would be nice if the quality of these recordings was better, but considering how old they are, you really can’t complain.