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The Cure
Seventeen Seconds (reviewed), Faith, Pornography Re-issues
Fiction Records/ Elektra Records/ Rhino Records

Ah, the magical time machine called music. When I received this latest re-issue by Rhino Records of the very first "real" Cure album (let's not count Three Imaginary Boys, on principal), Seventeen Seconds, I was immediately transported back in time to the early 1980's when I was a spiky haired post-punk rock loving youth. Even though I have probably not dusted off my old first issue CD of the record for more than ten years, I still remember all the songs, and find myself easily sing along; that is the magic of timeless music. All of the classic songs are here, faithfully re-mastered and sounding clearer and more punchy than ever. The re-mastering is more noticeable at high volumes and on better stereos, but it is most certainly there, and the folks over at Rhino did a great job.

The real standouts in this series of three re-issues are the bonus tracks that accompany the original albums, on the second CDs. Faith comes coupled with a ton of home demos of the album tracks, as well as 4 studio out-takes from the sessions, and a group of live tracks, which I can only assume are amazing. Also included with Faith is the legendary Carnage Visors EP, allegedly available for the first time on CD, and the oft-missing single "Charlotte Sometimes". Pornography includes only ten extra tracks, but one of them is the Airlock soundtrack that I don't believe has ever been officially available, and then some additional outtakes and a scattering of live tracks.

Seventeen Seconds' bonus CD is an amazing archive of early Cure music. The greatest surprise of all was the inclusion of the vinyl single from Robert Smith's early Cure side-band Cult Hero. Praised by my older brother as being the only Cure song he really likes, the b-side of "I'm A Cult Hero" was called "I Dig You". This song was nothing like early Cure or Easy Cure releases, and as the story goes actually includes vocals performed by the postman as he was delivering mail and was asked to recite the vocals while the band was recording one day. It is an amazing track, and one that is very welcome to these ears, as I lost my cassette copy of the single years ago. This song would be worth the price of the collection alone, but there are many more great things included. There are ten live tracks, two of which are the Cult Hero songs performed live, and given even more energy than the brilliant studio recordings maintain. That energy is great to hear in the young Cure, and gives a good reference point for the fact that even with their slowest music, they have always been quite good live. The versions of their classics "A Forest" and "The Final Sound" are really amazing, and showcase a band that was full of youthful energy and the charisma to carry a crowd. The disc also includes a couple of home demos of songs that eventually appeared on the record, as well as a cool demo of a song called "Another Journey By Train" that I've never heard before.

These collections are a wonderful addition to any Cure fan's collection, as there are included many things that have never been officially released on CD before and the sound quality of everything is phenomenal, even the live tracks from obviously smaller club venues. For those that don't understand the impact that the Cure had on the world of today's music, then this is a great place to begin their collection of material from the seminal band that has influenced just about every modern rock act. I'm going to the record shop now to get the other two for myself.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing: (Seventeen Seconds)

Disc one
1. A Reflection
2. Play For Today
3. Secrets
4. In Your House
5. Three
6. The Final Sound
7. A Forest
8. M
9. At Night
10. Seventeen Seconds

Disc two
1. I'm a Cult Hero (vinyl single by Cult Hero)
2. I Dig You (vinyl single by Cult Hero)
3. Another Journey By Train (home demo)
4. Secrets (home demo)
5. Seventeen Seconds (live)
6. In Your House (live)
7. Three (alt. Studio mix)
8. I Dig You (Cult Hero live)
9. I'm A Cult Hero (Cult Hero live)
10. M (live)
11. The Final Sound (live)
12. A Reflection (live)
13. Play For Today (live)
14. At Night (live)
15. A Forest (live)

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