Monday, 27 October 2008

The Cure - 4:13 Dream album review

This makes it into my top ten Cure albums (beating Wild Mood Swings, The Cure and The Top) and one that I’m sure will just get better the more I hear it - as with most Cure albums - 1980's Seventeen Seconds is still improving with each listen.
The Cure - 4:13 Dream
4:13 Dream - The Cure
Buy on Amazon

Favourite album track - 7. The Hungry Ghost
Favourite single(s) - 9. The Perfect Boy & 11. Sleep When I'm Dead (I can't decide!)

Underneath The Stars - The album kicks off with the atmospheric "Underneath The Stars" which sounds like something straight off of 1989's Disintegration. The echoey guitars, and the slow but strong drum beat remind me of Plainsong, Last Dance and Prayers For Rain while the wind chime sounding bells could almost be a sample straight from Pictures Of You. It also follows a similar balance of vocal to music as the Disintegration album tracks, with the vocal not leading the song but almost sounding like an extra instrument - this is in stark contrast to some of the more vocal led singles like Sleep When I'm Dead. Towards the end of the song it also features the reverbing guitar melody that I haven't heard since Wish, I’m glad it's back.

The Only One - described in many reviews as the 'back to the classic Cure pop single'. No chance! This is as far removed from Close To Me, The Lovecats, Friday I'm In Love and In Between Days (which I consider Cure pop) as the first track was. It's certainly upbeat but it's very much in the vein of the recent Cure singles off the previous album (The Cure) such as Taking Off. This one needs a few more listens before I really know whether I like it or I just consider it a poor imitation of Taking Off. I do love the final lyrics of the song though "Oh I love, Oh I love, Oh I love, What you do to me."

The Reasons Why - The last Cure song to have a first line as good as this was the first track on Pornography - One Hundred Years - that led you straight into the album with "It doesn't matter if we all die". Robert's clearly lost his worldly distress and is far more self focussed penning the classic, "I won't try to bring you down about my suicide" - well that's kind of him. If Underneath The Stars reminded me that Robert hadn't lost his knack at poignant lyrics, this track reminds me that he's still got a (sick) sense of humour, I love it.

Freakshow - The weakest single and weakest live performance if you believe all the talk on blogs. I must admit that when I saw this live back in March I decided beer was more interesting and went to the bar after the first couple of verses but it's getting better. I remember first listening to Wild Mood Swings and thinking 'What the f*ck?!' and that album has grown on me over 10 years. It's possible however that this single will be moved to the back of my Cure single collection next to Wrong Number.

Sirensong - Unlike the previous four tracks I can't compare this to previous Cure. It's very different sounding and lyrically to anything that's gone before. I really hope the Cure keep exploring different avenues in their music if they make any more albums. It was for this reason that I loved Bloodflowers which I felt was quite a change from the usual when it was released.

The Real Snow White - This bored me. Although I do like the amusingly dubious lyrics, "You're not the real Snow White, The real Snow White is on my knee, I didn't need to get ID, It's simply minimum height, And getting all dressed up, In seven ways to please, Yeah."

The Hungry Ghost - At this early stage (on my 4th listen to the album!) this is the stand out track on the album for me. It's got everything I love about the Cure, it's full of screamingly vivid lyrics, every verse runs off into the distance on the back of a foot tapping rhythm and the guitar takes off through every chorus. I really want to hear this track live.

Switch - The beginning of Switch reminds you Smith is a Hendrix fan. A rocking track throughout, but that intro is the best bit.

The Perfect Boy - I've become a huge fan of the Fall Out Boy remix of this on the Hypnagogic States EP as it turns a great single into a tune that fits well into a DJ night dance mix. The first bars of the remix also bear a striking resemblance to the equally good in a DJ set, Valerie cover by Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse. Anyway as a result I listen to this original track and keep thinking how I prefer the remix. I want to force myself to like this partly because I love The Perfect Girl from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me even though this sounds nothing like it - not a great reason but I feel like The Perfect Girl and The Perfect Boy must go together. Presumably forming The Perfect Couple?

This. Here and Now. With You - Urgh, not sure about this one. There are always a few album tracks that you feel like skipping. I often find with these that they then become my favourite tracks on the album a couple of years on. So watch this space.

Sleep When I'm Dead - A bit like Sirensong in that I loved this single for the fact it seems to take the Cure down a different path to what you'd usually expect. I can't imagine this on Head on the Door at all - the album this was apparently originally written for. Pity there are no studio demos of this track kicking about from 1985 so we can do a then and now comparison. The guitars do have a nice Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me feel to them - think Shiver and Shake.

The Scream - Great things often begin with a 'the' - The Cure, The Kiss, The Snakepit, The Lovecats, The Head on the Door, The Blood, The Baby Screams, The Drowning Man... And this adds to the album the angry, shouting, standing on the roof of a church howling at the moon song that we all know Robert Smith has in him. So much better than the Michael / Janet Jackson song of the same name (sorry).

It's Over - Get it? Jason Cooper has excelled himself on the final tune of the album. The drums and the bass completely drive this song and hold their own against the wall of sound guitars and breakneck vocal. The song finishes with the lyrics "Oh, I can't do this anymore, No, I can't do this anymore", which I hope isn't a reference to this being a last Cure album. I doubt it, as Robert himself has said he'll continue doing what he enjoys and at the moment that's the Cure. Plus I remember feeling the same in 2000 when listening to the 39 lyrics on Bloodflowers, "The fire is almost out and there's nothing left to burn..." Well you're still burning Bob, long may it continue.

The only thing that's missing from this album? - Trumpets! Come on Bob, you know you love trumpets, give us a single with trumpets, lots of them.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Mav..you're the greatest..."Take me to bed or loose me for ever!!!"
NtD

Maverick DJ said...

I think i'll go for the 'loose you for ever' option. You Swedes...