Tuesday, October 21, 2008

THE CURE - 4:13 DREAM - review "ROBERT, YOUR OUT OF YOUR ELEMENT"!!!!!

THE CURE - 4:13 DREAM

Welp, one of my favorite bands of all time is finally releasing a new record. I have a copy of it. I should be really excited about that. But im not. It pains me to say this, because this was the band that did no wrong, until 2004's self titled "The Cure" which had a lot of great songs, but had a few songs that i just felt didn't match up with the almight Cure song structure. I should be really excited because one of the shining moments of the Cure was when Porl Thompson was the guitarist (He played during the golden era 1985-1992ish) and he has returned to the band, and the band has returned to guitar heavy Cure. Still, Im not glowing with delight here. Well, ok, here is the absolute truth about this new Cure record...

There are 13 songs. The band is a 4 piece, and as i mentioned on a previous post reviewing their recent live show in Philly, the keyboard element is missing. 4 of the songs from the new record were released as singles, one per month, for four months. Each single has a b-side. 2 of the 4 singles are awesome. Most of the b-sides are awesome. Some of the b-sides are way better than the singles. If Mr. Smith would have taken some of the goofier tracks off of this record and put some of those b-sides in its place, this record would be awesome. But he didn't do that, he stubbornly gave us those goofy songs, and dammit, i have to complain about one of my favorite bands.

Its no surprise that Robert Smith has lost touch in some ways, and I guess (sigh) that is what happens when your a legendary artist who gets old but still wears make up. I mean, he has collaborated with some of this planet's worst top 40 artists. Im still waiting for him to write a single for Hanna Montana. But when it comes to The Cure, he always redeems himself. On 4:13 Dream, im not sure if this is vital and completely different song writing, and because i don't care about current music, im left out of the loop of cool, or if im right and Bob just picked some bad songs that are only cool to middle age british goth guys. Ok, back to the details.

Some of the songs sound like Disintegration/Wish era Cure, with huge gloomy guitar noise, compliments to Porl Thompson. In fact, Porl is one of the strong points on this record.His guitar playing is worlds better than anyone else in the past. His work on this record explodes with layers and layers of dark noisy rock. Just like Simon Gallup's bass work ruled supreme on Disintegration, Thompson's work here is vital in the success of 4:13 Dream. This record plays out like The Cure abandoned almost everything that made them specifically The Cure, and took some pointers from today's Indie rock scene. While other times, its clear that the band is just trying to take the best elements and just simplifying it all into really quick loud hard rock songs. One thing is for sure - The band is not interested in sadness this time around. This is the least gloomy, least melodramatic Cure record of all time, and it just might be the heaviest record for them too. Its really loud and upbeat and...current. The production on this record is really in right now, and i guess is good for The Cure trying to fit in, but definitely is new for the band. It lacks the layered production of Disintegration, or even more currently, Bloodflowers. Don't get me wrong though, this is a good album, not a great album, which im used to the band doing. This album starts out with a ton of momentum, and had i not heard any of the 4 singles first, it might have had a bigger impact on me. One thing im worried about with this record is some of what sells the album is Robert's vocals. There is a ton of production and effects on his voice. A lot of layering, a lot of sounds and well sung moments. I have a live version of this record too, and he doesn't have that element to lean on, so if im "just getting there" with this record, it would help if the band played it just as it is, live, but they do not because, like i said, the vocals are a big part of what i like about the new direction. Back in the day, The songs had so much going on, that we weren't so fixed on Robert's vocals being perfect, and they weren't but those songs, ooh baby, those songs were untouchable!!!!

Here is a track by track basic overview - 

 Underneath The Stars.
This opener sounds like a dryly recorded "plainsong" with the slow pace and epic guitar work. Too much vocal effects on this song. I think this song structure reminds me of "The last day of summer" from Bloodflowers. 

The Only One.
 is totally the typical Cure pop single of the album. This one reminds me of something from Wish. 

Reasons Why.
 this is a song that just sounds totally un-Cure. Its weird but its also really enjoyable. I lean toward this one for the Cure doing something different but in a good way.

Freakshow.
This song i hated live, but works way better on cd. I went from hating this song thinking it was one of the better ones on the record. It really is a fun song that reminds me of some of the "who cares lets have fun" of Wild Mood Swings. (And yes that record was amazing)

Sirensong.
One of the Porl shining tracks. Its got quirky atmospheric guitars, and lots of what sounds like pianos (Good boys, its ok, use em, you'll still be cool to the young folk) This song is a nice smooth break from the last 2 rockier songs.

The Real Snow White.
guitar heavy, bang your head Cure rock and roll, with a jangle of a chorus. This is another really clear example of the Cure breaking from any reminiscent trademark, but works well. This is also one of those songs where the vocals,and how they sound on this record, make the song stronger. Does it come off this good live?

Hungry Ghost.
Real up beat, popular sounding dance music type rock and roll here. This is the song you put on from this record when you want to shake what your momma gave you. Again, like the last song, its feel good music, but its not The Cure. Lots of vocal craziness. I love the guitar on this. I think this is the best part of the song, and Jason Cooper keeps the drum beat in that pocket, and keeps your head bopping. Did i mention, great guitars??

Switch.
 This is reminiscent of "Wrong Number" which i dont care for. This song has the electro-drumming that is only still popular in London i think?!? Lots of Wah pedal, fast drumming. Im bored though.

Perfect Boy. 
Another one of those singles that i would take a b-side over. That said, it is also one of the more Cure moments on the record, which might come as a relief to you if you like this song and your still getting used to the breaking from tradition. Its easy on the ears, but i find this song boring too.

This. Here And Now. With You.
This song is another that i enjoy. Its bubble gum pop Cure. It doesn't sound like it was from any of the other albums though, and definitely sounds current, like something maybe the Killers or Coldplay might do in some of their bubble gum moments. The chorus is what makes the song good.

Sleep When Im Dead.
 They should have called this song "Sleep When I Listen" this song sucks bad. The only redeeming moment is the first 10 seconds, once it kicks in, its cheese. This belongs on that new Cure remix EP, with the other terrible ideas. B-sides, any of them, will fit here instead. 

The Scream.
This song was almost there, but it goes nowhere to me. A confused mess of epic guitars, big bass, and drums and over the top wailing from the chief. It reminds me of epic songs like "Im Watching Me Fall" or "The Promise" (another song i didn't like too much), and it also reminds me, kind of, "Like Cockatoos" in the way that the song was quirky but went nowhere. Cool title though. Oh well.

It's Over. 
Luckily, we are given a power house closer, which reminds me of "End" from Wish, where they just built a wall of sound and brought a heaviness to the song. This song starts out with one of those old school shining moments from Simon Gallup on bass. The song is almost riffing and drumming like a metal song. Then Porl takes the guitar into outer space. There is so much noise going on here, but luckily the band finally found a hook in it. Its really heavy. Probably the heaviest they ever sounded, but it is awesome. The song gets better and better, and doesn't wear out its welcome, and ends beautifully. No tricks, they just hit that last heavy chord and let it fade out. The end.

So, what we have here is The Cure starting over. Bringing a half way decent album to the forefront of their overwhelming and gloomy discography. I think this is the beginning of the end for The Cure being the kings of gothy gloomy pop, but luckily we still get stong performances out of the members. One thing to point out, and its a strength to the band. This record doesn't make the band sound tired.THIS IS NOT A TIRED RECORD, the opposite in fact. Its fresh for them. I just chose to take some of it and leave some of it.
 It is the Cure record they would have made if they were just getting started!!!!

Tracklist:
(Highlight tracks - *)
*Underneath the Stars
*The Only One
*The Reasons Why
*Freakshow
*Sirensong
The Real Snow White
The Hungry Ghost
Switch
The Perfect Boy
*This. Here and Now. With You
Sleep When I’m Dead
The Scream
*It’s Over


And the cover art kicks ass!!!

2 comments:

Mike said...

Your review is strange. That's all I have to say.

Jeff K said...

Hmmm.. you poopoo on the album and then give nearly every song a great review. All I really have to say is, Oh My F-ing God YOU DIDN'T LIKE "LIKE COCKATOOS?" You have to be the first person I ever met ... but still, i love ya.