Boomkat Product Review:
Faith was released in 1981 and is the second and probably the best in the 'Fatalistic kingdom' trio of albums from The Cure. Fuelled by Simon Gallup’s Fender bass - in turns deep, angular, growling and comforting - for our money it's one of the most sparse and singular albums to ever edge into the mainstream.
The monochromatic cover image (a picture of Bolton Priory in the fog, painted by The Cure’s Porl Thompson) gives away the mood here; funereal, downcast, brooding, containing some of Robert Smith’s most unashamedly morose songs. But it’s the production, influenced by Joy Division, that’s a complete revelation. ‘All Cats Are Grey’, as one example, does a thing with synths, bass and percussion that could effectively have been the blueprint for much of the last 4 decades at the fringes of electronic music. ‘Faith’, the closing, title track, repeats the trick - but this time with a treated drum track so delicate and forward thinking we could listen to it on a loop for eternity.
All of this would be for nothing if it wasn’t for Robert Smith’s songwriting - here in fine form on the hooky ‘Primary’ and ‘Doubt’, as well as the foreboding ‘Funeral Party’, but this is The Cure album that is, above all, defined by its sound and production. ’Disintegration’ (which appeared almost a decade later) is far more grand and ambitious in scale and has understandably become the go-to The Cure album for those looking for a depressive fix. But, for us 'Faith' (and to a slightly lesser extent, ‘Seventeen Seconds’), feels like the most conceptually tight and age-defying work in their enviably deep catalogue, and the one whose influence we hear most often at the margins. If you’re interested in subs, and space - so much space - in production, this is basically the template.