Nearly Goth

Melody Maker
June 1996
Reviewed by Pricey

 THE CURE are back. Still touting the same make-up, the same hair, the same
 music. So do they have any relevance left? SIMON PRICE thinks they're all

 THE CURE/ WILD MOOD SWINGS Fiction (14trks/58mins)
 APPARENTLY, the people who decide these things- not me obviously- have
 penciled in a goth revival for the autumn. I'd like to state right here,
 right now, that I am NOT up for it.
        As a genre, with it's own strict rules, goth is, quite literally,
 a dead end. The gothic mood in music now belongs to Rza and Tricky (I 
 get the same felling from Nearly God as I got from Cranes). But- and I 
 think you've guessed where I'm going with this- it never belonged to The
      Well maybe "never" is a little harsh. There was "Faith", there was
 "Pornography"... but The Cure the non-gothic masses love(d)- you'll no 
 more find a goth watching The Cure than you will a death-metalhead at 
 a Quo show- is characterized by a certain sloppy romanticism (Lightning
 Seeds with bigger hair), exaggerated teddy bear winsomeness and _faux_kiddie
      I have two problems with this.
 1) messiness as an aesthetic is always unforgivable. 2) Ever since C86,
 I've distrusted grown-ups pretending to be children. I suppose Smith's
 no worse than that woman- old enough to drive, marry and soon, vote- out
 of Bis (What has Manda Rin been doing since the Krankies split?), but
 when I heard 'Friday I'm in Love', I wanted to kill him. There are plenty
 more reasons on the album, particularly the line, "I'm so fizzy, I could
 burst". (I can already see him in that video, putting his fingers in his
 mouth and dancing like his knees are tied together.)
      But then there's that new single. "The 13th" is messy, childish and
 quite brilliant: imagine the disconcerting cacophony of an infant school
 orchestra conducted by Tom Waits doing the lambada.
      Which is great, but... alright, listen. There's an old woman who lives
 _round are way_, 60 if she's a day, who still wears the clothes and make-up 
 she wore in her rock'n'roll youth, with no allowances or adjustments for
 the ravages of time. Whenever I see her, the second thing I think of is 
 Robert Smith (once I've recovered from the harrowing glimpse of my own
 possible fate).
      Smith looks exactly the same as ever, and his Cure haven't exactly 
 engaged in fearless pursuit of innovation either. As a junior Smash Hits
 reader, it always used to infuriate me when some star or other returned
 from the studio bunker with no opinions on, nor awareness of, that years
 musical trends. If they couldn't be arsed to keep an eye on unfolding
 developments, how _dare_ they expect me to listen to their (instantly
 outdated) new record?
       "Wild Mood Swings", blissfully ignorant of and of the main tides
 of mid-nineties music, sounds just like any other Cure album, but
 where once their cocooned indulgence(the luciously symbaric "Kiss Me,
 Kiss Me, Kiss Me") felt voluptous it now feels obese. Mind you, perhaps
 we should be grateful: the last time the Cure tried chasing clocks was 
 1991's humiliating baggy remix project, "Mixed Up".
      In mood , however, it's completely of its time. Like Frankie said,
 "and now, the end is near", and most of this LP reads like one long
 valedictory address, taking the chance to deal with a few of The Big Ones
 along the way: alcoholism, old age, drugs, the lie of monogamy, S&M, and,
 bravely, the uselessness of the goth mentality. It's always time to 
 worry , though, when a band writes songs about being in a band(hey, 
 Elastica!). There are two here: "Round & Round & Round" ("We squeak with
 idiot fake surprise/ Flap our hands and flutter our eyes"- sounds like
 a Cure show actually) and "Club America", a Damon-esque attack on the US
 in the microcosmic form of a groupie (" And it's not too hard to guess/
 From your stick on stars and your canary feather dress/ your hair is 
 such a carefully careless mess/ That you're trying to impress" yeah,
 bet he shagged her anyway).
 Mostly though, The Cure by numbers. Again. This record has absolutely 
 no right to exist in 1996. I quite like it actually.

Last Revised: Monday, 15-May-2006 15:00:06 CDT

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