The Cure – Three Imaginary Boys (1979)

Luc Ramshaw

Music Business Student at Bristol University, aged 19

Not knowing much about The Cure, I believe this album gave me a good introduction to the band. The post punk-rock genre is not something I would usually listen to, but I was immediately drawn into the technical guitar work and smooth basslines. Robert Smith’s voice is very reminiscent of the punk era sound, combined with the more clean-cut guitar riffs, creates The Cure’s unique sound (a mix of rock, punk and indie).

Fire in Cairo stood out to me as one of the more memorable tracks of the album, its sharp upbeat intro creating a slightly different sound to the rest of the album. The chorus being led more by the guitar riff and less by Robert Smith lets you appreciate the band. Definitely a head bopper! No other tracks from the album massively stood out to me, but this was not at all a bad thing. The album flowed nicely each song complimenting the one previous. I could justify playing this album the whole way through in the background of another activity as I found it easy to listen to and enjoy without paying too much attention to lyrics or intensity. Very solid album and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would! 8/10.

Steve Morgan

Freelance Journalist, aged 55

Recorded over five furtive nights moonlighting after labelmates The Jam had clocked off at Willesden’s Morgan Studios, 11 original compositions and a fidgety cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Foxy Lady comprise a stark, startling blueprint for one of pop’s most-enduring names. Schooled on the eclectic tastes of Robert Smith’s older brother Richard, 1979’s Three Imaginary Boys is the sound of a band wearing its influences – notably Buzzcocks and Wire – on its sleeve but hinting at greener pastures than this oft-sketchy collection might suggest. 

On So What, Smith delivers a non-plussed, punk vocal, the lyrics read verbatim from an advert for an icing set on a bag of sugar. Sweetness is generally in scant supply though; there’s little tenderness in the sparse arrangements, perhaps a youthful respect for the ‘year zero’ ethics of their punk peers. 

Object – ‘don’t try and talk to me, I won’t listen to your lies’ – offers an early a glimpse into a world of alienation The Cure would conquer as poster boys of disaffection. The thin, cheap twangy guitar of 10.15 Saturday Night, with its ‘drip-drip-drip’ instant earworm, remains a staple of their live set nearly half a century since Smith penned it miserably at home in his Crawley kitchen, his plans for the evening fallen through. It is the perfect opener. 10.15 and the plodding title track which closes the album are arguably the standouts, the latter’s frosty guitar – see also Another Day – nodding firmly in the direction of follow-up Seventeen Seconds.

Kingston link:

The Cure played Kingston Polytechnic in February 1979, three months prior to the release of this album.

AMP Kingston:
Art, Music, Pop Fashion

The AMP Kingston Heritage Trail explores and celebrates Kingston’s rich music heritage from the 1960’s to the present day at key sites across the town.

Find out more and explore the map of venues.