The Cure - The Cure
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Aug. 10, 2004
Review by Tony BonyataAlright now, before you go jumping to any conclusions that The Cure's latest album may be a foray into the world of nu-metal pap just because bandleader Robert Smith chose Ross Robinson (Korn / Slipknot) to helm the boards, let's set the record straight. It's not.
But what Robinson's influence has provided for the band is a new direction; one that's less maudlin and reflective, yet more powerful, emotive and hallucinogenic. But before any of you children-of-the-night start mourning over the loss of The Last of the Goths, you can dry those mascara-laced tears, because this effort is still cloaked with many dark, shadowy songs, with only an occasional pinhole of light shining through the cracks.
For most fans of The Cure, their signature sound is probably best defined by their Dark Trilogy of recordings - Pornography (1982), Disintegration (1989) and Bloodflowers (2000). So it seems odd that for this album - which turns out to be the band's biggest departure - they would simple title it The Cure, as if this was the defining sound that Smith was in search of all along.
But, then again, maybe it was. With a revolving cast of bandmembers throughout the last 25 years, much of the '90s found Smith bored with the band - often threatening that the end of The Cure was near. But as the singer recently admitted about making this album, "It sounds like I'm talking about some kind of weird group therapy, but making this album has really changed my attitude to what we do. I expect so much more of us now."
From the opening melodic dirge of "Lost" to the closing number "The Promise," which is seductively driven by an unsettling psychedelic guitar, the results of this album are both challenging and ultimately, over repeated spins, rewarding. While there are a couple of upbeat moments, such as the bouncy "The End of the World" and "Taking Off" (which, with an embarrassingly cheesy early '80s keyboard sound, is the only setback here), the rest of album is filled with songs mixed with flexed muscles, a dark imagination and a dizzying hallucinatory smokescreen.
"I can't find myself!" Smith shouts with an angst-ridden, Primal Scream Therapy passion that he's never had before. But maybe, just maybe, this misunderstood artist finally has for the first time.
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