Three Imaginary Boys – The Cure

Originally the title track from The Cure’s debut album. Three Imaginary Boys was one of their earliest ‘mythos deepening’ details. Firstly the track listing of that debut album was not *Bobert Smith Approved*. There’s a rough outtake cover version of Jimi HendrixFoxy Lady right on the outer edge of side two that was never meant to be there for a start. The sleeve art which seemed to suggest the members of the band were a Lamp, a Fridge and a Vacuum Cleaner didn’t go down well with young Robert Dyson Smith either. So he insisted from the second album onward on total creative control. However, this was not before the album was diced about, repackaged and sold in other territories as Boys Don’t Cry (the album). With a strange off brand collage art sleeve focusing on the Egyptian elements of some of the lyrics. Both versions featured Boys Don’t Cry (obvs), 10:15 Saturday Night, Fire In Cairo and the track in question (among others). The bass player hooting through the Hendrix number disappeared though, roundly replaced with that other legendary early Cure track Killing An Arab. Sling in Jumping Someone Else’s Train and that second run at a debut album starts to look like a winning formula for shifting units in the New Wave Era of 1980.

But back the track. Three Imaginary Boys the song is pure Cure in their original initial formative phase. It’s all there, all the cold flesh and dead eyed beauty to come. This record was made in the afterglow of punk that was ’79. But it’s goth AF. It’s ready to show you so many wonderful thingsssssss…

“Walk across the garden in the footsteps of my shadow, see the lights out, no one’s home, in amongst the statues stare at nothing in the garden moves, can you help me?”

The tidal guitar of Uncle Bob and spacious drum patterns of Lol Tolhurst are perfectly and creepily complimented by Mikey Dempsey plodding his fat low end notes all over the tale of creeping old house Victorian Gothic. Not that I have a clue what the song is really about. It’s all just shadows and whispers and echos of “Help Meeee” on the wind.

That this band went on to make a trilogy of perfect lo-fi moodscape goth punk with the next three albums could only have become a reality with a broadening of the personnel. Tolhurst and Smith remained constant. Simon Gallup took on plank spanking duties in Dempsey’s stead and the 80’s Batcave culture really got going throughout Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography. Goth was defined during this era and those Strange Little Girls and Lost Boys who found their scene were still yet to be gifted the bands boldest work.

Early Cure is a fertile ground. Packed with something ready to sprout. Not life exactly but something that has tendrils and spurts of creativity which still inspire and influence over 40 years later. Without The Cure there would be no Creeper, Placebo, Jane’s Addiction, AFI, MCR, Jack Off Jill, Ride, Slowdive, Oceansize that one where Blink 182 went all Halloweenie or any decent Tim Burton movies to speak of. They really are one of the greats. Even if just for their slow reveal of how important the weirdos are to a scene.

Close my eyes and hold so tightly scared of what the morning brings waiting for tomorrow, never comes deep inside the empty feeling, all the night time leaves me, three imaginary boys…

6 thoughts on “Three Imaginary Boys – The Cure

  1. Had to go to youtube to see the video. Your endorsement of early Cure will have me looking for it. “Even if just for their slow reveal of how important the weirdos are to a scene.” Trying to imagine a world without weirdos is like trying to imagine one without music or flowers or hot fudge sundaes. A lesser place for sure.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This one was unavailable in Canadialand, so YT it was. Gotta admit, this band isn’t my bag. Even saw them in concert (at a festival), and even included in the 3-day price, it wasn’t for me. Still, good on ’em and all that.

    Someone once told me they did a record that was more punk-like, but I can’t remember what it was. Do you know? That might do me better.

    Liked by 2 people

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