Listen Up: Wednesday, July 28 2004
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PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Cure

The Cure The Cure (Geffen)

The mascara-wearin’, black-clad, dour personage of Robert Smith has been a salve to the sexually confused, emotionally abused, and spiritually conflicted for the past 20-plus years. He’s allowed to get by on reputation. He doesn’t on The Cure, his goth-pop band’s 13th record and first studio work in four years. Yes, it’s weighed down by songcraft that’s errant and reductivist, and it groans beneath Smith’s tortured artist shtick. But it’s also the product of someone with vision, even if that vision deals in subject matter as pedestrian and inherently clichéd as breaking up. Track No. 1, the screamer “Lost,” is a noir short that begins ominously enough, with Smith hunched over his clanging electric guitar, gently petting it while telling us in a breathy whisper that he can’t find himself because he “got lost in someone else.” By the end of the song, he’s screaming his bloody head off as the instrumentation around him crumbles into muddy dissonance. The following couple of tracks are equally desolate and heartbroken, including the beautiful nocturne “Anniversary” and the single, “The End of the World,” a Cure throwback, replete with handclaps, major hook, and Smith’s requisite moany delivery. The c.d.’s mood shifts by Track No. 6, “Us and Them,” a semi-political rant in which Smith, child-like, goes off against people not committed to a unified universe. Or something. Subsequent tunes — the jumpy “alt.end,” the shimmering “(I Don’t Know What’s Going) On,” the plastic “Taking Off” — are, with the beginning numbers, a portrait of a disintegrated relationship. Wonderful, flawed gems like these suggest that producer Ross Robinson (Korn, Slipknot) wasn’t afraid to whip these boys into shape. The band’s diligence excuses the excesses. — Anthony Mariani


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