(out of 5)
The problem with Bono is that his voice went out. It’s as simple as
that. U2 can put out as many comeback albums as they want, but Bono will still
sound weathered, his once able tenor now warbling like the waterlogged, animatronic
hippo of the Jungle Cruise, pathetically trite and decades beyond repair. By
persisting on going on, Bono reminds us all on a daily basis that he is old.
Which makes us feel old. Which makes us hate Ireland.
Crawley, England’s Robert Smith, on the other hand, reminds us all of
the whimsy of youth. From his constant games of dress up with lipstick to his
countless songs and thematic albums about lullabies to his recent fascination
with every 15-year-old skateboarder’s favorite band of the moment, Blink-182,
Smith's got a twinkle in his eye that's hell's near cuter than my own baby
Now that I’ve alienated all of the U2 and Blink-182 fans and we’re
down to the core Cure demographic, we can get to the point. If you're anything
like me, you’re all asking the same questions: How hard has Robert Smith
sold out? If I buy the new self-titled album will I have enough money left
to buy bread for my family? And do I just leave the Curiosa festival after
Well friends, the answers may shock you, as they did me. (See end of reviews
for answer key.)
The most striking thing about the Cure’s new album for me was that it
did not completely suck. As a matter of fact, though the mix here is much muddier
and guitar-driven than any prior Cure album, Robert Smith’s voice is
dead on, with a consistent urgency that hearkens back to Pornography.
Of course, a three-ear review can’t be all roses. Although The Cure
surpasses any expectations I might have had left after a ten-year run of mediocre
albums—and especially the three new tracks on the Cure’s Greatest
Hits—it still fails to leave as much of an impression as any of the band’s
In other words, you can buy it if you like. It’s better than Bloodflowers
or Wild Mood Swings, which were not entirely forgettable either. There are
a lot of other bands out today making better music in the vein of classic Cure
(and several of them are coming with the Curiosa festival). But when you’re
at the festival, and you’re wondering whether to stick around to hear “The
Walk” or “Love Cats,” knowing full well that you’re
going to have to endure a chunk of this new album, I say go for it. And if
you get really bored, here's another review to tide you over.
For those of you too young to remember, I placed Boom Bip’s From Left
to Right EP at 42 on my year-end top 50 list for 2003. Now, that may not seem
very high up, but bear in mind that 1) I am racist against EPs, and 2) I tend
to underexaggerate. Those two strikes against it, said EP must surely have
been one of the greatest musical concoctions ever created by the likes of mankind.
And so it was. Why, I could write a whole review about each of its four tracks—the
Boom Bip original, the remix by Boards of Canada, the Venetian Snares mash
up with Buck 65, and the outro by cLOUDDEAD—but I am lazy, and also,
I cannot think of enough jokes to fill up four reviews, and so I will limit
myself to this paragraph, and a single word: wowza.
The oddly titled Corymb compiles this same EP with the similarly remix-heavy
Morning and a Day EP (featuring Lali Puna, Four Tet and Mogwai) and a few recordings
from Peel sessions into one all encompassing disc of unequalled awesomeness.
Well, for the most part. Unfortunately, some of the Morning and a Day tracks
are heavy on drone and somewhat light on ideas. Of these, only the Four Tet
track is truly fit to stand with the others, with a sloppy beat that still
manages to clean up after itself.
The two Peel session tracks are quite lovely though, and as a whole, Corymb
amounts to a rewarding, if inconsistent, listen. Though I must emphasize that
I mean 'inconsistent' in the most positive sense of the word possible. In any
case, it's way better than some damn dirty EP.
Answer key: 1) two big red balloons. 2) because they're magically delicious.
3) c. 4) his glasses are missing.
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