Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Cure's Faith kicks off a banner year for gloomy rock

The Cure : The Holy Hour

On April 14, 1981 The Cure released the UK#14 Faith, a gloomy album recorded as family members and fellow musicians were dying all around the band members. The mood change was sudden, recalls Robert Smith. In one night he wrote "All Cats Are Grey and "Funeral Party", the latter not half as bleak as some other tracks on Faith. Smith's grandmother had died suddenly and drummer Lol Tolhurst's mother was terminally ill with cancer. The two talked often about death and so naturally a morbid mood filled the studio at Abbey Road where they wrote and recorded the album. That mood may not seem welcoming at first, but many listeners have embraced it. 1981 was certainly a banner year for all things Goth. 

Critics began tapping their feet. Not to the beat so much as with a lack of patience. Would the band develop into something interesting or would The Cure always "remain stuck in the hackneyed doom-mongering that should have died with Joy Division", as Record Mirror's Mike Nicholls wrote. Most reviews were more positive, though the album failed to make NME's year end list.

The band would spend at least one more year in this doomed mood before bassist Simon Gallup left the band and Smith returned from detox to write "Let's Go To Bed". 

Modern English : Move In Light

Modern English, a band that would also have a remarkable shift in mood a year later, released its debut album Mesh and Lace in April of 1981. It's been called the "bleakest piece of post-punk Goth imaginable", full of phased guitars, dark atmospherics and bitter lyrics. Robbie Grey would find a change of mood paid off with the follow-up, 1982's After The Snow, which sold half a million copies:

He said : "We used to think 'God, we'll never make a pop record. We're artists!', but things don't always turn out as you planned and when you actually create a pop record, it's so much more of a thrill than anything else". 

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