If it ain’t broke you may smear it with red lipstick and back-comb its hair. But do NOT fix it.
Rating: 7 / 10
Patrick Freyne, 18 Nov 2008
“Uh... what are you doing Porl?”
“Oh this? Well Bob, this is a jazz chord and I thought I might use it in on the record we’re making.”
“No, no, no, no and no. Do that doo doo doo doo doo guitar thing you did on Disintegration.”
“But I want to play the jazz chord!”
“Well, Porl I don’t think it’s appropriate for a grown man in a successful popular goth-pop combo to stamp his foot like that, do you? I think you better calm down, pack your guitar up, and come back in approximately sixteen years when you’ve got that jazz chord out of your system.”
So Robert Smith continues his revolving door recruitment policy for The Cure and guitarist Porl Thompson (from the classic line-up) returns to make an album that sounds quite a bit like 1992’s Wish, the last album he played on. Which in my book is no bad thing since Wish was a rocking album of poppy, guitary weirdness which pushed but didn’t deviate from The Cure’s established status quo. Right through the 1980s they were an ever-changing phenomenon, careening constantly from post-punk minimalism, to bittersweet miserabilism, and on to joyous pop. Of course, when they released their biggest-seller Disintegration, the template was pretty much in place – angsty vocals about insects and love and screaming, fast strummed acoustic guitars, simple but dissonant guitar lines and a synthesizer set to strings.
The fact that they haven’t really changed the script (although there are less synths on this record) means they probably won’t ever make the headlines again, but this has all the understated joie de vivre I’ve always associated with The Cure and I’m really enjoying it. What was that dance I used to do again? (The reviewer raids his wife’s make-up box, hops from one foot to the other like an angry giant, and wiggles his fingers on front of his face mysteriously).