Paris

Not Rated

Two live albums is a lot of moping, but Robert Smith seems to relish every moment of Show and Paris. For 15 years a totem for trembling teens with high IQs and low self-esteem, Smith is the Cure-ator of a band that has built a museum of pretty misery. Particularly with their keyboard fills, they frame their trance-inducing songs with sharp, angular hooks; at pop for depressives, they rule. There's little apparent difference between these two career overviews: Both feature early, somber stuff ("Play for Today"), midperiod catchiness ("Let's Go to Bed") and recent radio masterstrokes ("Friday I'm in Love"). And in bulk, there's considerable fascination to this work: the faux-Middle Eastern exoticism of their swirling melodies; Smith's acid-muezzin wailing; all the black-velvet Byronic pain. Spooky.

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