Oh, my friends, happy days are here again! It’s been a long four years since The Cure released the incredible Bloodflowers, and if you’re an obsessed fan, as am I, you’ve been watching the clock and calendar with eager anticipation for the latest effort by The Cure, simply called The Cure. Celebrity producer Ross Robinson (Korn, Slipknot) recorded this album for The Cure, and the end result is, in a word, incredible.
“Lost,” the album’s opening track, features churning, over-driven guitars with tribal drumming. Robert moans and screams of being confused about himself, and the guitars scathe dissonant chords and the motion builds. The song is truly bitter and painful, much in the way that Cure classics such as “The Kiss” or “Want” are. I can honestly say that this is one of the single coolest Cure songs I’ve ever heard. It’s the angriest song I’ve heard from The Cure since 1982’s Pornography. This is easily my favorite song on the album, and was instantly in my top five of all time favorite Cure songs.
The next track, “Labyrinth,” features tribal drums again, and kind of has a “Like Cockatoos” feel to it. The guitars have a middle-eastern feel to them, and Robert has a weird megaphone effect on his vocals. He shouts about wanting things to be “the same.” It should be noted that two songs in, Robert’s vocals are more intense and emotional than they’ve been since Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me or Disintegration. The song is cool, but doesn’t instantly captivate in the same way that does “Lost.”
“Before Three” is classically whimsical Cure, reminiscent of Head on the Door or parts of Wish. Robert sings about the happiest days long gone, and employs a few “yeahs” and a nice vocal escalation in the chorus. Simon’s bass and the ringy guitars recall memories of the spectacular b-sides to the Kiss Me… album. Fans of the dreamier side of The Cure will fall in love with this song, guaranteed.
The next song on the album is the first single, “The End of the World.” It’s a cute little rock song as only The Cure can do: New Order-esque bassline wanders about, as mildly distorted guitars clang and clamor, with Robert singing about love and the impossibility of finding its barrier. Midway through the song, Robert “oohs” a little ditty which recalls Siouxsie Sioux of The Banshees. It’s a fun little song, one that instantly embeds itself in the head of Cure fans who will find themselves humming along later.
“Anniversary” is a rather ominous song featuring programmed drums, with keyboards taking the forefront. The keyboards have an almost Seventeen Seconds or Faith feel to them, and they take the place of the almost omni-present guitars on The Cure. Robert’s vocals are low and scathing, longing for something long lost.
“Us or Them” is a grinding rocker, with the guitars, again, sounding quite like those on Kiss Me…. The feel is heavy and worn down, and Robert screams and wails atop the violent sounding dirge of pounding drums and dirty guitars. Discordant, clean guitars play strange chords, a la “Fascination Street” or “Watching Me Feel.” Robert is clearly angry and dissatisfied, in way unseen on album since 1987. To a fan of The Cure’s darker and angrier side, this song will satiate and satisfy.
The strangely titled “alt.end” opens with guitars sans effects playing a simple melody and Robert singing. As the song builds, it evolves into a rather straightforward and easy to follow number. The drums have an occasional handclap sound, reminding the well-versed Cure fan of “The Baby Screams.” This is a very Head on the Door-style song, but it doesn’t exactly stick with the listener in the way that does “The End of the World.”
“(I Don’t Know What’s Going) On” is a swaggering number, with off-kilter drumming, offering up drummer Jason Cooper as the star of the album for the first time. Robert is in rare form on this track as well, displaying a bizarre vocal ascension which culminates in a high falsetto not seen for over a decade; it’s pure delight for me, having quite loved his falsetto work on the criminally underrated The Top. Keyboards propel the song atop a grungy bed of over-driven guitars, to make for a rather impressive little pop song.
The next song, “Taking Off,” is classic poppy Cure, an up tempo song with driving drums, a delicate 1980s keyboard melody and acoustic guitars. The guitar line following the chorus reminds me a bit of “Just Like Heaven.” Robert sings with urgency and genuine excitement. This song sounds like the Disintegration b-side “2 Late,” a song considered by many Cure fans to have been one of their best single songs. I fell instantly in love with “Taking Off.”
Strangely enough, “Never” reminded me of the song that Robert recently did with Blink 182… well, at least for the first 30 seconds. The song develops into a uniquely non-Cure progression of almost modern day post-punk up tempo plodding, accented by simple power chord guitars. The chorus ascends into a mini explosion with Robert, again, screaming and yelling. This song also features Simon playing chords on his bass, which gives a powerful backdrop to what is a surprisingly fevered and energetic song for a band having existed for over 25 years! Robert cuts loose on this one, making it one of my favorites.
“The Promise” is reminiscent of Wild Mood swings-era b-sides, which by the way, are actually much better than the majority of the regular album tracks. Tribal drums plod along, while Simon plays a repetitive bassline with wah-wah drenched distorted guitars spazzing out in the background. In the style of classic Cure builders, this one starts off slow with a solid base, but builds into an energetic explosion of emotion and bitterness. The song closes with Simon again playing some chords on his bass. It’s a great, prolific Cure epic, in the same vein as “Edge of the Deep Green Sea” and “Watching Me Fall.”
Now, listen closely, because there are six or seven more songs, which, as the word on the street says, are quite good. You will need to get a Japanese import version of CD to get them, or, as I have, order the vinyl double album, which features all of the songs on two lovely vinyl discs. As I write this review, I have yet to hear the additional songs (VH1’s website is offering a low quality stream of the album), so I can’t comment, but the folks at the Chain of Flowers website (my favorite Cure site) say that the songs are a must. Supposedly, the extra songs will come out on singles and stuff, but you can get all of them on the double album for about the same price as the CD. Nevertheless, The Cure is as good as it’s hyped to be, and I absolutely love it, wholeheartedly. A+!
The Cure: http://www.thecure.com/