In the spirit of full disclosure, we received The Truth in Me in the mail about a week after receiving a neato press release. Continuing in the spirit of full disclosure, I cringed at the idea of yet another ill-advised post-career-peak solo project by an ancillary member of a musical institution. (Admittedly I also felt this way about the whole of Ian McCulloch's solo career.) To my surprise, O'Donnell succeeds with something pretty, albeit ephemeral: tenous Moog Voyager explorations that establish O'Donnell as a member of the grand tribe of space musicians who refer to themselves as "synthesists," and treads lightly alongside the places where Boards of Canada and Morr have inhabited over the past decade. Before this falls into music review wankery, I'll point out that the airy, faux-naive female vocals on "For the Truth in You" and "Treasure" spoil the effect of what is otherwise a self-consciously timeless experimental record.
Roger O'Donnell -- My Days
Roger O'Donnell -- ...And So I Closed My Eyes
Relatedly, the Cure may indeed be the collective Kevin Bacon of nascent British indie and as inbred as the Royal Family. Ten Imaginary Years (the 1988 autobiography) was rich with family tree forks and double-backs that have, at this point, probably gotten even more twisted: let's see... Robert Smith is married to Mary Poole. This is the easy part. Porl Thompson (guitarist) is married to Robert's sister Janet; and Simon Gallup (bass) was married to Porl's sister Carol, but is now married to someone else. As Wikipedia tells it, there's a veritable brood of kids here. Porl Thompson played in Shelleyan Orphan (Humroot only, though Shelleyan Orphan did tour with the Cure prior to that release) and Babacar with Boris Williams who is possibly still involved with Caroline Crawley (of both Shelleyan Orphan and Babacar), who contributed the majority of vocals on This Mortal Coil's Blood (4AD). In addition to the Cure and a stint of weird collaborations (highlights: Zwan, Placebo, Blink-182), Robert Smith was briefly a Banshee and worked with Steve Severin on the Glove project. Interestingly, it still hasn't been established who wears more makeup: Smith, Siouxsie, Brian Molko...or new contender, the whey-faced Gerard Way.
The Cure -- In Between Days
The Cure -- The Exploding Boy
The Cure -- A Few Hours After This
The Glove -- Punish Me With Kisses
The Glove -- Like an Animal
Shelleyan Orphan -- Swallow
Shelleyan Orphan -- Burst
On the flipside of the Cure, at least in my neck of the Piney Woods, were Depeche Mode. In my contrariness and advanced age, I have to argue that, for me, the side projects are where it's at...but I'm not sure that I can condone Dave Gahan's solo work, even if I do find him fascinating to look at. No discussion of Depeche is ever complete without my argument that Alan Wilder's Recoil project and Martin Gore's Counterfeit series are better than the primary body of work with Depeche, so without further ado:
Recoil -- Grain
Martin L. Gore -- Loverman