Apparently some people aren’t fazed by the number 13.
Four years, several album delays and edits later, The Cure’s 4:13 Dream provides the band’s typical pop record with a bit more angst and experimentation than usual.
Lead vocalist Robert Smith and his bandmates cut down 33 potential album cuts to the unlucky 13 for their 13th studio album. It was originally scheduled to be released as a double disc and the band even released singles on the 13th day of the each month from May to July.
Smith’s occasionally standardized lyrics fill an album that lacks greatest hits like “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Just like Heaven,” but still delivers.
“Underneath the Stars” opens the dream and sets the moody tone that remains for the rest of the disc. It’s a sweet, cheesy and slow-moving ballad with unintelligible lyrics and pretty guitar solos.
Another hit lies in the single “The Only One,” with its upbeat and old school Cure sound evocative of their album Wish. The word “love” is mentioned 23 times on this track, and it is by far the happiest song of the bunch.
Misses include the experimental “Switch,” for its robotic drum beats, and the questionable “The Real Snow White.” Smith’s voice just doesn’t seem to fit in with the song’s direction.
For a casual fan of the band, radio-friendly fare can be found in “The Reasons Why,” “Sleep When I’m Dead” and “The Hungry Ghost.”
“The Perfect Boy” plays as a quintessential Cure song, as it is about a doomed love affair but features a catchy hook: “Oh girl, he’s not the one for sure/Oh girl, he’s not so wonderful/Oh girl, he’s not the one for sure/Oh girl, he’s not the perfect boy at all.”
Unlike previous albums, 4:13 Dream ends on a fast and energetic note. The result, however, remains the same: the dream ends in resignation and defeat.
With odds and unlucky numbers against them, The Cure, with the help of returning guitarist Porl Thompson, succeed in putting out an album the likes of which hasn’t been seen from them in years.
Three out of four stars