Blankenberge is a shoegaze/drone rock/post rock band from Saint Petersburg, Russia. I’m assuming that the band got its name from the Belgian coastal town. I think they’re a five-piece, but the only thing that I really know about them is that they released an eponymous EP in March. I like what I’ve heard from that, but that’s not why we’re here today.
The band was included in the latest tribute compilation album curated by the folks at The Blog That Celebrates Itself. Today, the blog and record label released its newest thing: The Cure in Other Voices. As always, the compilation features a few bands who I already know, but mostly bands that I’ve never heard before. There are some well-known songs from The Cure’s catalog, and some lesser-known songs. Today’s song is from the “never heard of this band” pile, and also from the “well-known song” pile, as the original came from The Cure’s fantastic 1989 album Disintegration.
A lot of the songs on this compilation are creative interpretations of the original, and this is certainly one of those. It’s much darker and foggier than the original. It’s probably in a different key, but I don’t know enough about that kind of thing to say definitively. What I do know is that it’s nowhere near as bright. And it certainly has much more of the quiet/loud/quiet thing than the original version does. And the “loud” parts…. Oh my! Heavy, and loud, and lovely.
This is that song.
“Pictures of You”, as covered by Blankenberge
I love the singer’s voice, and I love the heaviness of it. I always thought that the original version was too bright for the theme. There are different theories about what the song is really “about”, and different theories about the inspiration. A house fire that damaged all of Robert Smith’s pictures, or a decision that he made to intentionally destroy all of his pictures, or something else entirely. Maybe it’s not autobiographical, and was inspired by a poem that he read? Smith himself has given different accounts of what the song is about and what inspired it. What’s clear is that it’s about loss and regret. But the brightness of the guitar always seemed contrary to all of this. This cover version doesn’t have that problem. It’s dark, and it should be.