A smoky sax-and-organ piece called “Dawna” creeps out of an alley and back again, and “Buena” sets the basic off-kilter template for the band to follow for the next 35 minutes. “I’m Free Now” sways back and forth as well, through a couple of modulations, before “All Wrong” injects the funk, with a wah-wah sax solo. The years have brought even more songs about a girl named Candy, and Morphine’s is one of the better ones, leading well into the unique “Head With Wings”. But they break from the pattern on “In Spite Of Me”, a gorgeous detour with no sax nor drums, just mandolin, muted guitar and Mark Sandman’s voice through a speaker.
“Thursday” puts us back in familiar territory, gaining power with every break. The title track has all the hallmarks of a radio hit but for the band’s instrumentation and a lyric begging to be misunderstood. The mood continues in order—“Mary Won’t You Call My Name” frenetic and pleading, “Let’s Take A Trip Together” creepy and anti-seductive, “Sheila” just plain wacky. And with perfect pacing, another sad instrumental closes the set. “Miles Davis’ Funeral” is a piece for guitars and percussion, and a fitting title.
Cure For Pain is excellent, but works best at night, on overcast days, or in the middle of a snowstorm. Summertime and sun only get in the way. It’s still one of the best albums of the ‘90s.
Morphine Cure For Pain (1993)—4½