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
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
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.
3. Before Three
4. Truth Goodness and Beauty
5. The End Of The World
7. Us or Them
9. I Don't Know What's Going On
10. Taking Off
12. The Promise
13. Going Nowhere