Friday, September 2, 2011

Review: The Cure - 4:13 Dream

I'll admit right upfront that I once was not a long term listener of the Cure. In fact I've only recently re-re-re-rediscovered them. Not to give away my age, but I remember the Cure mostly being listened to by punk rock girls in the 80s. It was almost inevitable that every time you paged through a punk rock girl's record (more like cassette tape!) collection, you would find the Smiths, Depeche Mode and the Cure - with very little actual punk rock.  Back then, being the zealot punk rocker I was, I only wanted to listen to 'the real stuff' so I pretty much ignored that entire genre. It may have been one reason among many that I never scored with many punk rock girls!

Fast forward to 2008 and I'm listening to the Shout Out Louds and really enjoying the upbeat Swedish-born power-pop. There have been a few reviewer comparisons of the Shout Out Louds to the Cure, so I was curious enough to check out a few of the Cure YouTube videos. I was actually surprised by the strength of the song writing and the swirling guitar playing. So I went out and bought The Head on the Door. And then before you know it I'm picking up everything I can find used at the local record stores. Best thing about collecting the Cure is the sheer amount of material out there - it is easy to dig through the bins and find something.

Well enough of an introduction - so how does 4:13 Dream sound? Compared to the older classic albums, it is a little weaker, but Robert Smith can still pen a good song that have that old-time Cure feeling. Like the later Bloodflowers and Wish, I would suggest culling out your favorite tracks for your personal MP3 mix. The Cure has a fairly diverse sound and I would categorize their songs into four categories - Pop, Goth, Noise and near-Psychedelia. So in this case 4:13 has a bit of everything for everyone. And that is perhaps its overall weakness. As a total album it doesn't completely gel, but in my mind it does have a few tracks worth keeping.

My favorite tracks are Sirensong which harkens back to the Cure's early years. Simple drums and guitars with dark lyrics. The Hungry Ghost has a bit more speed, shoegazing and anger mixed like a violent nightmare. Underneath the Stars is just about a perfect song with heavy reminisces of the Disintegration album. The Only One and The Perfect Boy sound like classic Robert Smith pop songs that are a bit muddled by the new style of mastering.

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