Review - Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities

Artist: The Cure


It's somehow telling that the first proper box set from The Cure focuses not on giving a well-rounded picture of the group, but, instead, focuses narrowly on compiling detritus Robert Smith and his cohorts gathered over the course of their 13-year tenure with Fiction Records. The single-minded devotion that The Cure has earned from their fans over the past 25 years is matched in the alternative universe only by the teary-eyed love Smiths fans have for Morrissey. It is to those obsessive types that a box set like this would be most obviously aimed. Yet "Join the Dots" succeeds not only as a completist archive, but also as a document of the rock & roll heart that, surprisingly enough, was beating behind most of The Cure's best work. Almost in spite of the rarefied air which his idolizers insist he breathes, Robert Smith has remained something of a down-to-earth dandy, and though he's always been more than willing to commiserate, he's been equally ready to be a pop dork or a venomous rocker. The 70 tracks (spread across four discs) explore all those outlets, plus others. A good half of the material here is trite crap, while, say, another 10 percent of it is simply lazy (the predominance of "remixes" during the group's latter years is alarming). However, the remaining tracks are absolutely incredible, especially the way the raw slashings of early cuts like "Pillbox Tales" and unheralded pop gems like "Sugar Girl" counter the prevailing trends of gloomy atmospherics that defined the band's albums. To be honest, a single-disc distillation of the best of this material would have been plenty, but, then again, with fans like these ....


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.