Maybe it was youthful exuberance or perhaps it was the fact that the band itself was not pulling all the strings, Three Imaginary Boys is not only a very strong debut, but a near oddity (it's an admittedly "catchy" record) in the Cure catalog. More poppy and representative of the times than any other album during their long career, Three Imaginary Boys is a semi-detached bit of late-'70s English pop-punk. Angular and lyrically abstract, it's strong points are in its utter simplicity. There are no dirges here, no long suites, just short bursts of energy and a rather strange cover of Hendrix's "Foxy Lady." For some, this is the last good Cure record, many fans of this album being in no way prepared for the sparse emptiness and gloom that would be the cornerstone of future releases. For the most die-hard Cure-head, however, it's an interesting sidenote, hard to place in the general flow of the band's discography. Cure leader Robert Smith has voiced many times over his mixed feelings about the record, most notably the cover art (the three "representative" appliances on the cover, the lack of a real track listing -- all the songs are represented with arty type pictures -- and in no real order) and the production, which at times is admittedly a little muddy, but even that lends it a certain youthful charm. What the Cure would do next wasn't entirely obvious to the listener of this album, but there are some definite hints.
AllMusic Review by Chris True