|Nick Cave: Not goth, just kind of morose.|
If you read the fine print, though, the evidence is a bit less damning. "... many of the genre's progenitors reject the Goth label ... " the press release admits, and I breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe I wasn't such a freak after all. Maybe "goth" is, as I always had thought, less a musical genre than a lifestyle choice. Goth or no, Rhino is currently giving a lot of attention to two of the stars of A Life Less Lived. The Jesus and Mary Chain's first five albums, for instance, (the only ones that count, some would say) have just been given the reissue spruceup, with Dolby "advanced resolution" remastering and MTV videos thrown in for good measure. In this case, remastering means that the Velvet Underground inspired band's amplifier-generated white noise washes over you with enough texture to exfoliate your face. The records, from landmark debut Psychocandy to more-acoustic comeback Stoned & Dethroned, are presented in the annoying DualDisc format, the incompatibility issues of which have been noted plenty of times before.
No such tech problems with the label's other batch of reissues, three (or four, if you count Blue Sunshine, by Cure/Banshees bastard son The Glove) mid-career titles by The Cure. Yes, dear reader, this is the batch that gives us The Head on the Door, maybe the most enduring entry in the group's very fine back catalog, as well as their glossier American breakthrough, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. Each is packaged with a second disc full of demos and live tracks that reveal the surprising fact that Robert Smith's homemade sketches of songs often had fully-drawn melodies and structure before they had words. (Either that or he just didn't feel like singing when he plunked out chords for "Inbetween Days" and its cousins.)
|Uninvited, Like the Clouds, by The Church.|
One song Phillips adds little to is "Under the Milky Way," by The Church. That group has rather unexpectedly lasted for almost three decades. Their new Uninvited, Like the Clouds (Cooking Vinyl) makes me grateful for that fact. The opening track, a darkly enigmatic sprawler called "Block," is of-a-piece with their best old work without pandering to nostalgia; songs like "Real Toggle Action" tug in the direction of cut-up abstraction, but the songwriters are too melody happy to wander too far in that direction.
Just in case you're wondering: Although the All Music Guide lists The Church's "moods" as "gloomy, eerie, druggy," and "brooding," and despite the invocation of religion in the band's name, they are not yet, according to Rhino's upcoming box set, a Goth band.