A remarkable four-disc set of B-sides and rarities, JOIN THE DOTS serves as a sort of alternate history for the Cure, one of the world's most beloved post-punk/alt-rock bands. Painstakingly compiled by Cure frontman (and the group's only constant member) Robert Smith, DOTS provides dozens of glimpses into the literal flip-side of their singles by collectingmany long-lost tracks, including the classic songs previously featured only on the cassette version of STARING AT THE SEA: THE SINGLES. Disc one begins in the late 1970s and consists of early tracks that show the Cure in a wildly adventurous mode--tearing into the punky "Pillbox Tales", driftingthrough the gloomy "Descent", and bouncing along to the oddly danceable "Throw Your Foot". By disc two, Smith and the lads have become college-rock heroes, and despite their goth looks, they move steadily into poppier territory on songs such as the synth-laden "Breathe" and the upbeat "Hey You!!!",eventually settling into their dreamy post-DISINTEGRATION era on "This Twilight Garden", "Halo", and "Home" on the third and fourth discs. Also included are cover tunes and remixes, topping off an impressive collection that features many could've-been A-sides (particularly "The Exploding Boy", "Harold and Joe", and "Signal to Noise") and reveals why a younger generation has become entranced by the Cure's dynamic sound.
A testament to the Cures explosive creativity, Join the Dots
is also an ode to the bands remarkable consistency. Spanning the groups entire career, itll keep fans happily burrowing away for hours; days, even. Disc 1 concentrates on Robert Smiths early growth spurts, when his jerky goth-pop blossomed with depth and savvy. Disc 2 recycles some of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
s motifs (theres a touch of "A Thousand Hours" in "Breath," for instance), and pays tribute to their early-90s Mixed Up
Madchester phase with "Harold and Joe." Elsewhere, there are covers of "Young Americans," Depeche Modes "World in My Eyes," "Purple Haze," and three versions of the Doors "Hello I Love You," as well as more recent material like an acoustic version of "Maybe Someday" from 2000s Bloodflowers
. The handsome packaging features a complete career retrospective partially narrated by Smith himself. As a capstone to a brilliant career, Dots
is a sublime walk down memory lane for tortured hearts and melancholy moods. --Matthew Cooke