"A MILLION FAT GIRLS AND A MILLION FAT MEN
COULDN'T PUT ME BACK TOGETHER AGAIN"
Blue Sunshine is the only album released by the Glove, a band created in 1983 by Robert Smith and Steven Severin (of the Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees, respectively). A dark psychedelic album, Blue Sunshine was released with very little fanfare and is known mostly to rabid fans of the Glove's parent bands, but it deserves to attain a much wider audience. I think it's fair to say that this album is better than several of the "normal" albums both groups recorded.
ONE MORE BOY FULL OF WRITHING WHITE MICE
1983 found Robert Smith emotionally drained from the "Pornography" tour, in desperate need of a break from the Cure routine. Meanwhile, Steven Severin, bass player and co-leader of Siouxsie and the Banshees, found himself temporarily unemployed while Siouxsie and Budgie were working on their "Creatures" side project. Fortunately, Smith and Severin were still on fairly good relations, so instead of taking a month off to work on their tans, the pair decided to watch a few dozen cult movies, ingest lots of controlled substances, take "the Glove" for a nom de guerre and record the bizarre little album known as "Blue Sunshine".
I WRITE MY NAME IN LIPSTICK ON THE MIRROR AS I LEAVE
The names of the band and the album both come from movies, as do many of the lyrics. The Glove is a reference to the giant blue glove that menaced the crew of the Yellow Submarine. Blue Sunshine is the name of a 1976 movie about a hellish strain of LSD that caused its users to go on killing sprees ten years after dropping their first tab.
YOUR BODY GROWS MORE BEAUTIFUL WITH EVERY BITE I TAKE
Writing credits are equally shared between Smith and Severin, but it seems to me that Smith wrote most of the words and Severin wrote most of the music. For the most part, the lyrics are characteristic of the Cure, and with songs named "Sex Eye Make-up" and "Mr. Alphabet Says", they probably would not have seemed out of place on a mid-Eighties Cure album. The music is more reminiscent of the Banshees. Several times, we can hear lilting, vaguely classical dance pieces suddenly being overrun by tribal rock beats and murderous lyrics. This is practically a Banshees trademark.
That said, Blue Sunshine sounds different from anything the Cure or the Banshees ever did. Those Banshees sounds are drowned in extra layers of harmony, and the familiar Cure ballads seem to have been treated to Burroughs's cut-up technique, making it almost impossible to tell what the songs are about. Another unique factor is the singer. Robert Smith's contractual obligations restricted him to singing only two songs. The remainder are sung by Jeanne Landry, an unknown dancer and singer recruited for the project.
The album is recorded without pauses. Even the bonus songs included at the end of the CD are seamlessly mixed onto the end of the standard album. This mixing creates some rather disturbing transitions. The disorientation is total - after listening to Blue Sunshine at least a hundred times, I can still not remember what song comes where in the album. I can always remember what the next song is going to be, but when it comes it's a complete surprise. Like the Blue Sunshine acid in the movie, this album is a great trip, but it comes back to haunt you. And yes, that's a recommendation.
THROUGH THE TANGLE OF YOUR BROKEN WORDS
- like an animal
- looking glass girl
- mr. alphabet says
- a blues in drag
- punish me with kisses
- this green city
- perfect murder
- mouth to mouth *
- the tightrope *
- like an animal (club? what club?) *
* - these are bonus tracks included on the album's first CD release in 1990.
WARNING: Smith and Severin did the drugs so their listeners wouldn't have to. Stay away from drugs while listening to this album.
This review has been mixed using the fish-panning method.