Friday, July 22, 2016

100 Mavericks # 26 Robert Smith

Truly, the sound of the English suburbs:

'Is there a group more suburban than The Cure? In England is Mine, Michael Bracewell made much of their origins in humble Crawley. ‘'Quiet and respectable, yet lacking the bourgeois superiority of nearby Haywards Heath (home of Suede), Crawley is a near perfect example of England at its least surprising,” (115) he wrote. For Bracewell, the group are the sound of the in-between spaces of English culture: the suburbs, yes, but also, adolescence, the suburbia of the soul. The Cure are the personification of the not-quite and the not-yet: not quite execrated but never really respected; not punk veterans but not yet generic Goff. The suspicion that has dogged them is that of fakery; yet inauthenticity – as existential condition – was The Cure’s stock-in-trade. You can hear it all in the grain of Robert Smith’s voice. Bracewell again: 'When Smith sang, it wasn't so much his doom-laden lyrics as the actual sound of his voice which lent the Cure their mesmeric monotony: it was the voice of nervous boredom in a small town bedroom, muffled beneath suffocating layers of ennui. Alternately peevish and petulant, breathless with anguish or spluttering with incoherent rage, Smith's voice was unique in making monotony malleable.'

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