Suretone/Geffen Records; 2008
By Ron Raymond
WMPG Music DirectorHow does a 32-year-old alt-rock/goth band get the fans excited about a new album months in advance of the album’s release date? Well, to prepare for the 13th album by 80s alt-rock/goth heroes The Cure, 4:13 Dream, the 4-man band led by Robert Smith, released singles on the 13th of each month leading up to the album’s initial release date of September 13th. Each of these singles had non-album B-sides, which have always been a Cure staple. However, the album got pushed back to October 13th and was ultimately released on October 28th. After a remix EP was released on September 13th to tide fans over, the album arrived and is the first album since 1989’s Disintegration that, for the most part, sounds like The Cure we used to know.
4:13 Dream opens up like several Cure albums past – with a long track. In this case, it’s the song “Underneath The Stars.” The song echoes back to Disintegration, by far the band’s biggest album to date. First single “The Only One” also echoes back of Cure days past, to songs like 1985’s “In Between Days,” 1987’s “Just Like Heaven” and 1992’s “High.” It’s refreshing considering how awful 2004’s self-titled album was. There was maybe one good song on the whole thing. It’s nice to see Robert Smith and Co. going back to basics.
The album does, I feel, take a couple of missteps in the songs “The Real Snow White” and former single “Freakshow.” These songs sound like the more recent Cure offerings and they don’t feel like they belong in any album. They just seem out of sorts compared to all of the other great cuts. Other highlights on 4:13 Dream include the sweet but short “Sirensong”; one of the singles and my favorite song on the album, “The Perfect Boy”; the simple but lovely “This, Here And Now, With You”; and, “Sleep When I’m Dead,” which sounded to me at first like an older Cure song – and now I know why. Upon further reading, “Sleep When I’m Dead” is actually a song that was originally written for the 1985 album The Head On The Door.
Do I think like The Cure are headed back in the right direction? Yeah, I do. 4:13 Dream is the first studio album that reunites original member Porl Thompson with the band since 1992’s Wish. And, strangely enough, in Spain, where the Cure have never had much success, the first three singles off the album have all gone to #1, with “The Perfect Boy” reaching #2. This album makes me look forward to their next effort, so I can applaud that one as well, because I believe the Dream is real – that The Cure can (and will) still make some truly good music.