It's late at night; a couple of echoey electric guitars are plinking and howling at
each other across a doom-laden backbeat; a frail and young-sounding voice has
just announced rather plaintively, that he "really doesn't know what I'm doing
here". Yes, Robert Smith has got himself in a dreadful muddle again; it's the start
of another Cure album - their tenth, or sixteenth including compilations - and any
agnostics who haven't joined the ever growing legion of obsessives must be asking
themselves whether they haven't heard all this little-goth-lost stuff a few too many
The answer, as revealed in the next hour of uneasy listening, is a resounding yes
and no. Wish turns out to contain several of the best things The Cure have done,
as well one or two items which they should be able to pull off in their sleep, and,
by the sound of it, quite possibly did.
The really good news is that Smith has edged the band away from the precipice of
mannered, epic gloom which made 1989's Disintegration such a grand and
sometimes pompous affair. Wish revisits The Cure's more upbeat, poppy roots.
The album's outstanding track, and second single, is Friday I'm In Love, a tune
blessed with an insatiable lovable surging melody, a clever nursery rhyme lyric and
a heavenly host of twinkly guitar lines.
Though this euphoric mood is never fully recaptured, it is strongly implied on
High, From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea, A Letter To Elise and Doing the
Unstuck. Even when Smith is hanging his head, there's a spring in his step. Cut, a
tearing flurry of wah wah guitars and funky drumming, is the most frenetic whinge
The Cure have ever committed to tape. End struts back and forth across an
enormous, see-sawing guitar riff which will probably get nicked by Nirvana. And
even when the clouds lower, a sense of urgent, unself-conscious longing is
generally more evident than that mother lode of unspecified regret which has
become the Cure's calling card.
Trust and To Wish Impossible Things can't simply be dismissed as miserablist
dirges. Apart and Open, though, can be: this is not the perfect Cure album.
What takes Wish respectably close to answering that description is partly the
overall quality and variety of the song construction and partly the way it sounds.
This is a rough hewn, rowdy production which highly favours guitars over
orchestral synths. For once in their glum lives you can be sure that The Cure
really are waving not drowning.
Rating: Four Stars out of Five
Last Revised: Monday, 15-May-2006 15:00:08 CDT
maintained by: Verdugo