After the release of 2000’s Bloodflowers and a greatest hits compilation in 2001, the Cure officially ended their relationship with their longtime label Fiction Records after a period that spanned for more than 20 years. During this four-year period between studio releases, the band went on the road for some shows including a two-night engagement in Berlin where the band played their famed trilogy of albums for Pornography, Disintegration, and Bloodflowers that was released for a DVD release in 2003. That same year, the band signed a three-album deal with Geffen Records as they began work on a brand new studio release with famed producer Ross Robinson, who had been known for his work with Korn, Slipknot, and At the Drive-In, for their twelfth studio release simply entitled The Cure.
Produced by Ross Robinson and band leader Robert Smith, the self-titled album has the Cure taking on a heavier sound filled with loud guitars and bombastic rhythm. Featuring a more livelier sound than in any of the previous albums due to Robinson’s desire to record the band as if they’re playing live in a studio. It’s a record that has the Cure going for something more intense performance wise while the lyrics has Smith continuing the dark themes he had explored over the years. The result is an excellent yet rapturous record from the Cure.
The album opener Lost starts off with Robert Smith strumming to a guitar as he sings “I can’t find myself” repeatedly into this heavy, mid-tempo track with Jason Cooper’s pounding drums and driving guitar and bass. The rest of the lyrics recalls dark lyrics of loss as Smith wailing through the song’s vocals. Labyrinth is a pulsating track led by shimmering keyboards, walloping beats, and swirling guitars as Smith sings through textured vocals. With its haunting lyrics filled with eerie imagery, it’s a song that exemplify the Cure becoming more intense musically and lyrically. Before Three is a mid-tempo track with driving guitars from Smith and Perry Bamonte along with bopping rhythms from Cooper’s drums and Simon Gallup’s loopy bass line. Smith sings in his tormented vocals to the song’s nostalgic-laden lyrics with elements of longing and anger.
The first single The End of the World is an upbeat yet mid-tempo song with pounding beats, soothing bass lines, and washy guitar riffs. Featuring heart wrenching lyrics filled with desperation through Smith’s soaring vocals as it‘s one of the band‘s best singles. Anniversary is a heavy, mid-tempo track filled with fluid keyboards from Roger O’Donnell with hollow yet rumbling rhythms and wailing guitar melodies. Smith’s vocals is calm for the song’s harrowing yet reflective lyrics as the song is carried wonderfully by its atmospheric production. Us or Them is an upbeat though intense rocker with pummeling beats and driving guitar riffs as Smith snarls through the song with his biting vocals to the song’s angst-ridden and confrontational lyrics.
The album’s second single Alt.end is an upbeat yet bopping track led by melodic guitars and bass with steady drum fills and Smith’s calm vocals. The lyrics feature themes of desperation and the desire to change as the song includes wailing guitar solos and a swooning keyboard in the background. (I Don’t Know What’s Going) On is a mid-tempo track with thumping beats, soothing keyboards and swirling guitar chimes as it features lyrics of confusion as Smith sings in his evocative style. The third single Taking Off is a soothing, upbeat track with washy acoustic guitars, fluid synthesizers, rumbling beats, and driving electric guitar wails. Smith’s vocals is presented in great form as it complements the dreamy yet adventurous lyrics.
Never is an up-tempo track with pummeling beats and sturdy bass line that is followed by swift yet driving guitar riffs as Smith sings the song’s lyrics about lovers trying to be something they couldn’t be for each other. The album closer is the ten-minute The Promise that opens with Smith’s screaming vocals and warbling guitar riffs. Featuring Gallup’s wobbly bass line, Cooper’s hard-hitting drums, and O’Donnell’s soft keyboards, the song is among one of the band’s darkest as it features devastating lyrics of heartbreak that serves as a fitting close to the album.
Released on June 28, 2004 to excellent reviews, the album was a modestly-successful album on a commercial scale proving that the band was still able to capture the attention of the music-buying public. With the band getting lots of attention by headlining the 2004 Coachella music festival and having their own tour called Curiosa with bands like Interpol, Muse, and the Rapture. The Cure was suddenly getting more attention than ever as they were also presented with a MTV Icon special for the band. Following the album’s release and Curiosa tour, Robert Smith decided to make some changes once again as guitarist Perry Bamonte and keyboardist Roger O’Donnell left the band in 2005. Smith decided to have the band become a trio for a while until former guitarist Porl Thompson returned to the group in June of 2005 as a four-piece for a series of festival tour dates in Europe.
The Cure’s self-titled release is a stellar yet captivating album from the band. While it’s a record that is among one of their finer, latter-day period releases with 2000’s Bloodflowers, it’s a record that fans can enjoy for its heavy sound and dark lyrics that is distinctive of the Cure. Yet, it’s a record that is flawed due to some of the production and mixing that drowns out some of the bass as well as its emphasis to be very heavy musically. Still, the Cure’s self-titled album is among one of their finer albums that might not live up to their hey-day of the 1980s and early 90s but provides enough moments for fans to enjoy.
The Cure Studio Albums: Three Imaginary Boys - Seventeen Seconds - Faith - Pornography - The Top - The Head on the Door - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me - Disintegration - Wish - Wild Mood Swings - Bloodflowers - 4:13 Dream
Compilations: Standing on a Beach/Staring at the Sea - Mixed Up - Galore - Greatest Hits - Join the Dots
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