Genre: Alternative goth
Remember the eighties? Some effeminate bloke in make-up and with his hair all over the place suddenly started appearing on TV screens singing songs that sounded sort of alternative. That’s because it was alternative music. Rather like ‘independent’ music, giving it that name made people feel comfortable that they weren’t consuming anything, because that would make them feel like consumers.
The Cure was many people’s induction to this new obsession with alternativeness, and were probably the first band to make a major commercial success out of this alternative to being commercial.
But so what if NME had created a nation of music snobs? The Love Cats, Boys Don’t Cry, In Between Days, Lovesong, Close To Me, Lullaby, High, Friday In Love … these were songs that defined the eighties and even kids today know them off by heart. And if they don’t, they bloody well should do. Everyone has their own taste, but in my own humble opinion this is one of the best bands that ever lived, although unlike some of my peers around 1983, I never went quite as far as sneaking into my sister’s bedroom to borrow her make-up so I could look like Robert Smith.
The band has gone through so many changes of line-up over the years that it’s got to the stage that as long as Smith is there, it’s Cure enough for anyone. Not since the award-winning Wish in 1992 have they managed to release anything that’s quite attracted the world’s attention as much as their earlier stuff, but they’re still with us. Bob looking a bit fatter in the face, but like they say, age catches up with the best of us – and he can still sing and play as well as ever he could.
And back on keyboards is Roger O’Donnell, who was somewhat unceremoniously fired in 2005. It’s now being said that this is a return to the original Cure line-up, which is only half true because there’s not really such a thing. Despite a brief return, Porl Thompson is no longer there on guitar, and drummer Jason Cooper has only been with the band since 1995 … But it’s close enough.
As for the possibility of a new album, we can leave it to Smith himself to fill us in there. He says “it’s one of those things that it’s been left so long now I expect it will come out as a half-finished sort of thing. I’m not sure if the band wants to complete it, which is sort of the elephant in the room.” No worries, Rob, we understand. As you get older, it gets harder to find the time to do these things. Whenever you’re ready…
They’re here in Spain to headline at both Primavera Sound in Barcelona and BBK Live in Bilbao, and what they’re promising is a two-hour set reviewing their entire career, but focusing particularly on Wish, which is twenty years old this year. And ooh look! The Primavera appearance is on a Friday. We know a song about that, don’t we children?
Did you know: During their rise to fame, The Cure supported Siouxsie and the Banshees, and when the headliners’ John McKay left the group mid-tour, Robert Smith helped out by playing for them as well. It was a career defining moment as far his own group’s sound was concerned. “I was blown away by how powerful I felt playing that kind of music” he said. “It was so different to what we were doing with The Cure.” A new sound was born out of that experience, and it’s John McKay who we can thank for that.
Friday June 2, 2012 Barcelona Primavera Sound