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Music

The Cure's Robert Smith named his favourite band in the world

@josephtaysom

In 2016, The Cure headed out on their world tour, and they were joined on the international jaunt by The Twilight Sad, a band that Robert Smith believes is “the best band playing the best songs”.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Scottish group, they are a shoegaze outfit formed almost 20 years ago, and to date, The Twilight Sad have released five albums. Similarly to The Cure, it took them years of working underground before gaining the recognition they deserved, and even now, they are still flying somewhat under the radar.

Their debut album, Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, was released in 2007 through FatCat Records. It was greeted with warm reviews from critics but failed to sell a sizeable amount. Instead, The Twilight Sad’s path to success was a slow burner.

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After the release of their debut, the Scottish band took to the road and cultivated their fanbase the old-fashioned way. Over this time, they supported the likes of Mogwai, The Smashing Pumpkins, Beirut, and Frightened Rabbit which helped them immeasurably.

With their experience as a support band, The Twilight Sad were the perfect choice for The Cure’s opening act in 2016. However, in all truth, Smith wasn’t worried about the suitability of their curriculum vitae for the role, and he just wanted to watch his favourite band perform live every night.

Getting to see The Twilight Sad up-close and personal on a nightly basis was a pleasure for Smith, who later discussed the joy they gave him throughout the tour. Following the conclusion of the live shows, NME ran a piece through the lens of The Twilight Sad and exhibited the photos they had taken while on the road which featured a glowing foreword by The Cure frontman.

Smith explained: “I asked The Twilight Sad to join us on The Cure Tour 2016 because they are the best band playing the best songs – consistently brilliant, emotional, intense, inspiring, entertaining.”

Detailing further, he added: “They have added immeasurably to this year’s live experience – for fans, crew and Cure band alike… and it turns out they are the best people too! I can’t thank them enough.”

The offer to join their heroes on tour came out of the blue for The Twilight Sad, and initially, they believed it was a joke when they received an email from Smith via Mogwai singer Stuart Braithwaite. Much to their surprise, it was The Cure frontman, and a beautiful friendship blossomed. Later, guitarist Andy MacFarlane told The Guardian in 2015: “For as far back as I can remember, we have all been huge fans of the Cure, so reading that was obviously mind blowing – although I was always slightly sceptical, thinking it was maybe Barry Burns from Mogwai trying to pull some elaborate joke on us”.

He added: “After we recorded Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave I sent it to Robert to have a listen, and he said it was ‘BEAUTIFUL’. We wanted to do something special for the ‘It Never Was the Same’ single, as it was going to be the last release from the album.

“I knew it was a pretty far-fetched idea but thought I might as well chance my arm and ask Robert if he’d be up for covering one of our songs to feature as a double A-side. I couldn’t believe it when he replied, saying he’d like to cover ‘There’s a Girl in the Corner’.”

Although they were over a decade into their career when Smith reached out, it was still a life-affirming moment to have one of their heroes dote on them. Not only did they have the honour of him calling them the “best band”, but to have The Cure frontman cover one of your creations is the stuff of dreams.

If it wasn’t for The Cure, then a generation of bands such as The Twilight Sad likely never exist. The trailblazing methods of Smith’s group helped usher in a new type of act who took pride in being misfits, and outsiders while making irresistible earworms.

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