The Cure

Join the Dots

Let a band run long enough, and it will assemble not only a history, but a parallel, under-the-radar history, too. On this four-CD set, subtitled “B-Sides and Rarities, 1978-2001 (The Fiction Years),” essential British post-punk group the Cure’s apocrypha is remastered and assembled into a coherent narrative arc that delivers a story without the familiar touchstones. For hard-core fans, it’s nice to have (almost) everything in one place; for more casual listeners, the set provides an embarrassment of riches. Robert Smith’s trademark sob-yelp remains consistent, but the instrumentation progresses from sharp-edged angularity to lushly romantic to electro-textural. There are some choice gems here: early on, “I’m Cold” and “Splintered in Her Head”; and later, “Adonais,” “World in My Eyes” and much more.