A swinging little ditty from the earlier days of the Cure. Still flashing the pop sense the band demonstrated on their early singles, "The Love Cats" -- released between albums in 1983 and collected on Japanese Whispers (1984 EP) and again on Staring at the Sea: The Singles (1986) -- shows the band experimenting with textures like a screeching guitar to mimic the screech of a cat and falling bottles. But the song is almost like a show tune in its classic Tin Pan Alley arrangement, with tack piano, horns, phonetic backing vocals, vibes, and upright bass being the most prominent instrumentation. It is the sort of undeniably catchy music hall type of song found on the mid- to late-'60s Beatles records (you know, McCartney's songs). "The Love Cats" contains something like five separate hooks. The band pivoted back and forth between dense layers of goth rock textures and this sort of shimmering pop during the first half of the 1980s. They finally seemed to combine the two approaches in their later swirling mid-tempo pop songs and ballads.
And singer/songwriter Robert Smith also seems to combine two of his favorite lyrical themes in "The Love Cats": love and lust. He gets a little too cutesy for some tastes, but he offers a clever lyric: "We slip through the streets/While everyone sleeps/Getting bigger and sleeker/And wider and brighter/We bite and scratch and scream all night/Let's go and/Throw all the songs we know/Into the sea/You and me/All these years and no one heard/I'll show you in spring/It's a treacherous thing/We missed you hissed the lovecats." The song was a fresh burst of pop on the early-'80s wasteland of mainstream radio, and perhaps only Sting and Kevin Rowlands of Dexy's Midnight Runners had voices that came anywhere to sounding anything like Smith's, but his is a singular timber and style. He seems to feel completely at ease with the song's breathy, hissing ad-libs and cloying sexual come-ons.