When most think of the eighties, a few select bands spring to mind again and again; U2, the Police, Roxy Music. To me; the most enduring legacy left by any band was that of the Cure – the last of the great, eccentric English guitar bands.

For as long as I can remember, their songs have been prevalent in my life; part of my musical furniture. Hearing a Cure song for the first time, on a cassette in my father’s car, was a kind of awakening – here was music that seemed to speak directly, stripped of pretence and flashy production, that struck upon the truth, and sounded pretty damn catchy at that.

Thankfully, though, the record reached my rotation some twenty years too late for me to be convinced that emulating lead singer Robert Smith’s bouffant was a good idea (for those in the dark, think Edward Scissorhands on a bad hair day), their new romanticism seeming a tad dated by the mid nineties. They were a breath of fresh air, however, waiting to be discovered, at a time when the musical landscape was still recovering from the aftermath of 'Nevermind', the album which had spawned a seemingly endless deluge of mediocre, mid American grungers. Here was a band who was closer to home, who spoke about issues and conveyed precisely a hard-to-pin-down malaise which seeped from generation to generation – despite their glory days being well behind them, The Cure were still finding new fans, fans who were as enraptured by Smith, the consummate spokesman for teenage disillusionment, as those first on the scene had been some ten years previously.

Songs such as the haunting ‘Killing an Arab’ (which also provoked widespread interest in existential French literature – quite a feat for four boys from Crawley), '10.15 on a Saturday Night’ and ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ spoke to both the wider adolescent population, and people on an individual basis, and somehow, this appeal, both vast and personal, has managed to remain an intrinsic part of the appeal of the band as a whole – despite having sold over 27 million records worldwide, they are still widely viewed as ‘cult’.

And, let’s face it, it wasn’t all about sitting in a darkened room as your mascara trickled down your face – tracks like ‘Friday I’m In Love’, ‘In Between Days’ and ‘Close To Me’, highlighted the dichotomy of the band, (they did happy bloody well, too!) and ensured that they wouldn’t be forever hailed as godfathers of emo – they had much more to offer the musical landscape than that.

Riding the crest of a career trajectory that has spanned post-punk, shoe gazing new wave, and the much maligned ‘gothic rock’ genre, through cassettes and CDs and the new-found digital revolution, the band have ushered in a new generation of intense, black nail polish wearing wannabe Goths, from the Horrors to Ipso Facto, Zola Jesus to SCUM - even the noir- clad minimalism of mercury award winners the XX, the sombre musings of Interpol, is considerably indebted to Smith and co. Thirty four years later and still going strong, the band have been immortalised in an episode of 'The Mighty Boosh', featured on the Rock Band soundtrack, and no doubt, will continue to inspire the youth of tomorrow. In the eyes of their fans, the Cure can do no wrong. Here’s to the next forty years. And the fourteenth album.

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