Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Glove-Blue Sunshine (Deluxe Edition)

The Glove was a project formed by the Cure’s Robert Smith and Steve Severin of Siouxsie & the Banshees as both men were in need of a break from their respective bands. With Smith also being a guitarist for the Banshees in late 1982 to May of 1984, he and Severin wanted to create a project that was different from their bands. While Smith was contractually prohibited not to sing for this new project, he and Severin drafted to get a singer in Tops of the Pop Zoo troupe dancer Jeanette Landray. Landray, at the time was Banshees’ drummer Budgie’s girlfriend, came in for the songs that was to be sung as the band made their only album entitled Blue Sunshine.

Written and produced by Robert Smith and Steve Severin, Blue Sunshine is a record that allows Smith and Severin to stray from each of their band’s Goth rock sounds by flirting with more new wave elements along with dance rhythms. With Jeanette Landray singing a majority of the songs and Smith on two, the group also featured contributions from future Banshees’ member Martin McCarrick on strings and drummer Andy Anderson, who would join the Cure for the band’s 1984 album The Top. The record also features a wide range of themes that is still entrenched in Smith and Severin’s Gothic lyrical ideas as the result is a fascinating side project from Robert Smith and Steve Severin.

Opening the album is the single Like An Animal, a track with sputtering beats and swirling keyboards that is accompanied by Steve Severin’s melodic bass lines and Jeanette Landray’s exotic vocals. Featuring abstract lyrics by Robert Smith, it is towering up-tempo song that provides an idea of what the Glove sounds like. Looking Glass Girl is a mid-tempo track with chime-laden keyboard shimmers and tick-tock beats with Landray singing in a broad vocal style to Severin’s lyrics that is filled with fantastic imagery. Sex-Eye-Make-Up is another mid-tempo track with Severin’s wobbly bass lines, Smith’s wailing guitar and soothing keyboards, and a steady beat from Andy Anderson. Landray sings in a calm vocal style to Smith’s dark lyrics filled with chaotic images.

Mr. Alphabet Says is led by a melodic piano track as a segue to a hammering beat to bopping rhythms with striking pianos and swooning violins as Smith sings with his wailing vocals. The lyrics by Severin is very esoteric in its description as it’s about a man who likes to play a strange game. A Blues In Drag is an instrumental piece filled with somber piano and keyboards with reverbs in the performance as it’s a lovely, plaintive piece that includes wonderful string arrangements to play up its melancholia. The second single Punish Me With Kisses is a lovely mid-tempo ballad led by a steady rhythm, swooning bass lines, and jangly guitars as Landray sings tormented, heartbreaking lyrics courtesy of Smith and Severin.

This Green City is led by waves of pulsating synthesizer melodies that is played to Severin’s melodic bass lines in this upbeat yet exhilarating song. With Landray’s broad vocals taking charge to Severin’s colorful yet exotic lyrics, it’s a song that is supported by amazing production and Smith’s swooning guitar. Orgy opens with eerie, Arabian-style violins and soft, pummeling beats as Landray sings Severin’s harrowing lyrics as the song includes warbling synthesizers and hammering beats for the chorus. Perfect Murder is an upbeat yet chilling track led by wavy synthesizers and a steady, mid-tempo beat to warbling xylophone melodies. Smith sings the song’s brooding lyrics about murder as it is one of the standout tracks on the album. Closing the album is a six-minute and thirteen second instrumental called Relax as it’s accompanied by Spanish voices, warbling noises, Japanese string instruments, and driving guitars as they later mesh into something mystifying to close the album.

The 2006 deluxe edition of the album features the original album remastered with five bonus tracks all on the first disc with a second disc with demos and outtakes. Both supervised by Steve Severin and Robert Smith as part of a series of reissues from Fiction and Rhino on some albums by the Cure.

From the first disc are the five bonus tracks that appear with the original album. The first is an instrumental mix of The Man from Nowhere where it’s driven by fast, sputtering drum machine beats along with swirling guitar and melodic-chiming keyboards that appears as among the many segue tracks in the album. The song Mouth to Mouth is presented with pulsating beats and heavy synthesizer textures to a hypnotic rhythm as Landray sings in her eerie vocals to the song’s chilling yet mesmerizing lyrics. A remix of Punish Me With Kisses by Mike Hedges presents the song in a more polished presentation though not much is changed except in cutting the song by a mere ten seconds.

An instrumental mix of Tightrope is filled with warbling sounds of beats and shimmering keyboards as it’s followed by a melodic keyboard sound throughout the track along with sounds of thunder. The last track on the first disc is a 12-inch remix of Like An Animal that features more flourishing beats and washy acoustic guitar tracks for a dance-driven remix.

The second disc of the deluxe edition of the album features an array of vocal demos and instrumental mixes that features Robert Smith singing many of the demos presented on the disc. The first three demos for Like An Animal, Looking Glass Girl, and Sex-Eye-Make-Up are each presented in stripped down performances with drum machines and guitars as Smith sings the demos with his tormented vocals. The demos for Mr. Alphabet Says and A Blues in Drag presented in alternate vocal versions by Smith with the former featuring multi-tracked vocals and the latter, being an instrumental, has Smith singing very quietly. The next three demos for Punish Me With Kisses, This Green City, and Orgy are all presented in rough versions for its drum machines and electronic textures with Smith providing amazing vocals for the demos.

Alternate vocal versions of Perfect Murder and the instrumental Relax show more progressed versions of the song with the former has Smith wailing more on the vocals while the latter has Smith squealing throughout the track. An alternative mix of the instrumental of The Man From Nowhere is presented in a rough version without its fuller production. The next four demos are for Mouth to Mouth and The Tightrope along with the two instrumental segues for the album as Mouth to Mouth is presented in a rough version with Smith showing more intensity in his vocal performances. The rarities for Opened the Box (A Waltz), The Tightrope (Almost Time), and And All Around Us the Mermaids Sang (aka Torment) each have Smith singing over the rough instrumental tracks with The Tightrope and And All Around Us the Mermaids Sang having some lyrics in the performances. The closing track of the second disc is an early instrumental mix for the rarity Holiday 80 is a track with soft drum machine beats and a low-key synthesizer playing to a slow yet smooth rhythm.

Released in August of 1983 during the down-time for both the Cure and Siouxsie & the Banshees, the album got some attention at a time when both groups were active. Yet, the group didn’t last long as both Robert Smith and Steve Severin chose to go back to the Banshees for the band’s sixth studio album Hyena while Smith worked on the Cure’s fifth studio record The Top around the same time. Though Smith would leave the Banshees to go back full-time to the Cure, he and Severin still contacted each other as they worked together again for the 2006 reissue of Blue Sunshine.

Blue Sunshine is a fantastic album from the Glove as it is a wonderful one-off side project from both Robert Smith and Steve Severin. While the deluxe version doesn’t offer a lot of great material, it is something that hardcore fans of the Cure and Siouxsie & the Banshees will enjoy. Even as the album does offers some amazing material that stands out on its own as the record itself is worth checking out. In the end, Blue Sunshine is an extraordinary record from Robert Smith and Steve Severin in their one-off side project the Glove.

© thevoid99 2011

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