'Japanese Whispers': The Cure in Transition

The Cure's 'Japanese Whispers' Picture Disc
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Rhino Records

"Do The Cure really exist any more?" the band's frontman Robert Smith said to Melody Maker at the end of 1982. "I've been pondering that question myself...Whatever happens, it won't be me, Laurence and Simon together any more. I know that." Indeed, bassist Simon Gallup acrimoniously departed the group after touring in support of that year's Pornography. When Smith returned to the studio - intent on "destroying" the band, per Fiction Records founder Chris Parry - Laurence "Lol" Tolhurst would switch from drums to keyboards.

The resulting single from the duo, 1982's "Let's Go to Bed," was a marked departure from their established sound, focusing on Tolhurst's synths and a bass-heavy rhythm. It surprised audiences, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, where it became the group's first Top 20 single there. An equally unexpected follow-up, "The Walk," just missed the Top 10 in the band's native England - their highest chart placement yet. The band's third single of the year was a complete departure: "The Lovecats," a jazz-inspired number featuring live drums and double bass from percussionist Andy Anderson and producer Phil Thornalley. Against all odds, it became the band's first Top 10 hit.

Read More: The Cure: Favorite Albums, Robert Smith and The Band's "Biggest Fan"

Smith, with Tolhurt and Anderson, would create The Cure's next proper album The Top in 1984. (Gallup would return to the band in 1985, and remains a member today.) But before that, the Japanese Whispers collection offered most of The Cure's 1982-1983 material: the three singles as well as five non-album B-sides, including fan favorite "Just One Kiss."

And now, these Whispers can once again be part of your record collection. The extended play was released on picture disc this spring, and the fine folks at Rhino have a great Memorial Day offer on Japanese Whispers and other titles: 15% off through Monday, May 31, 2021, and free shipping on every order over $50! Now's the time to run - not walk - and get your hands on some killer music for the summer.

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