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The Cure - The Cure


Review: Jack Foley

ROBERT Smith has boldly declared The Cure's latest album to be 'the best thing we've ever done', which is no mean feat, given the quality of past efforts such as Disintegration, Pornography and Wish (not to mention Wild Mood Swings!).

Yet this self-titled effort, which marks their first studio album in four years, also comes armed with the skills of super-producer, Ross Robinson (of Slipknot, Limp Bizkit and At The Drive-In fame), who reportedly lured Smith out of 'retirement' to lay down some new tracks.

And it's fair to say, it's a major return to form, extolling all the virtues of the celebrated back catalogue, while also sounding as fresh and exciting as they did when first bursting onto the scene.

Whether it measures up to their very best work, however, will probably be something that time decides - but it's certainly good to have the boys back, and they certainly roll back the years with this one.

Led as always by singer/guitarist Smith, The Cure line-up since 1994 continues to comprise long-time bass player Simon Gallup, guitarist Perry Bamonte, drummer/ percussionist Jason Cooper, and keyboardist, Roger O'Donnell.

And the good news is that the brooding guitars, intricate structures, lush melodies, and gloom-laden lyrics are back in force - all present and correct, as though Robinson has tapped into all of the facets which helped to make them such a success.

If anything, Robinson's presence seems to have added some fire into the guitars, with tracks such as the penultimate track, The Promise, seeming more anguish-laden than previously, and Us Or Them harking back to the fury of Fascination Street, courtesy of lyrics such as I don't want you anywhere near me, get your fucking world out of my head.

And yet there remain some gloriously upbeat pop records; tracks that seem destined for the charts, even though there is nothing to match the breezy satisfaction of, say, Just Like Heaven (their most commercial effort to date?).

The chirpy guitars and claps of alt.end, for instance, demonstrate the band has lost none of its ability to tap into feel-good melodies, while the lush opening moments of (I Don't Know What's Going) On, with Smith's do, do, do's, effortlessly evoke memories of the Friday, I'm In Love era. Smith actually sounds happy to be singing again.

But the album's best moments (and there is barely a dud track on it) come in the form of the warped guitar rifts of second track, Labyrinth; the upbeat Before Three and The End of the World (complete with trademark Smith wails); and the elegant Going Nowhere, which finds the band at its most beautiful, shiver-inducing and epic.

Let's not beat about the bush. The Cure are, and continue to be, one of the most influential bands of all-time, and this new album is an expert lesson in why.

Track listing:
1. Lost
2. Labyrinth
3. Before Three
4. Truth Goodness and Beauty
5. The End Of The World
6. Anniversary
7. Us or Them
8. alt.end
9. I Don't Know What's Going On
10. Taking Off
11. Never
12. The Promise
13. Going Nowhere

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