Cure fans have reason for caution following 2004's poorly timed, self-titled aggro makeover, which came on the heels of a tour with Interpol and a newfound interest from a generation of goth teens. With The Cure's 13th studio album in 30 years, 4:13 Dream, Robert Smith and co. are back to form--but unfortunately, Smith runs out of ideas halfway through filling out that form.
4:13 Dream's first track, "Underneath the Stars," mirrors "Plainsong," the dramatic opener to 1989's masterpiece Disintegration; then the album dives head-first into bouncy pop, pulling heartstrings with the euphoric "The Only One." The tune wraps Cure favorites "Friday I'm in Love," "In Between Days" and "Just Like Heaven" into a package tailor-made for a Valentine's mix CD--or the next Anne Hathaway wedding-related vehicle.
Recorded mostly live in the studio, 4:13 shines with the simplicity of Smith's hopeful mourning on "This. Here and Now. With You," "The Hungry Ghost" and "The Perfect Boy." Elsewhere, uninspired place-holding lyrics such as "I won't try to bring you down about my suicide" kill the mood. 4:13's greatest sin comes in the form of the noisy filler cuts, all with incessant Hendrix-lite wah-wah guitar, signaling to the audience: We Are Rocking.
So when is this tour, anyway?