The Cure Seventeen Seconds / Faith / Pornography

Following up last year’s long-awaited deluxe reissue of their debut album proper, Three Imaginary Boys, the Cure have added their next three albums simultaneously with exquisite bonus material. Also known as their "trilogy,” Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography represent the band’s bleakest period and arguably the finest work in their career. Seventeen Seconds was the album where the band found their sound — an austere blend of subtle pop hooks and proficient instrumentation. The rarities include the ultra rare single by the band’s silly new wave side project Cult Hero, a great synth-heavy take on the album’s title track and some first-rate live tracks. Faith, the highly under appreciated melancholic primer, features the long-deleted and ominous epic soundtrack to their 1981 Carnage Visors tour film. The demos and outtakes on the second disc are decent skims, but again, the live tracks covering most of the album make for a mesmerising listen. Pornography, their brooding goth masterpiece, provides the best rarities disc of the bunch, with a number of unreleased demos, the chaotic "Airlock: The Soundtrack” — a 13-minute trek into Smith’s embryonic madness — and even more pristine live cuts. Complemented by shrewd, exploratory liner notes and extraordinary vintage photos, this set is not only essential listening for both die-hard Cure fans and any true music lover. (Rhino)