The Cure – [EP]

Thursday, 18 September 2008

It has now been thirty-two years since The Cure first appeared and brought along with them the shiniest, sparkliest dark cloud ever conjured by a band that wasn’t sure if it wanted to play pop or prog rock to their audience and was equally unsure what emotional state it wanted to wrap the proceedings in. In a lot of cases, that indecision has been the most engaging facet to the band’s sound too; since starting, unhappy teens confused at the changes (anatomical, bio-chemical and sociological) they were experiencing in their lives have flocked to the band because while they seem to understand the discomfort that their audience is feeling, Robert Smith still has enough childlike sweetness in his voice and the band still has enough pop in them to make even the heaviest of eyeliner adorned eyes smile.

For thirty-three years, The Cure has enjoyed that position and remained frozen in time at that adolescent crossroads; perpetually on the cusp of adulthood, but preferring to look at the same questions from within the same comfortable framework.

That said, the Hypnagogic States EP may be the first step out for the band in years. From the very beginning, it’s noticeable that the pop that has always been so key to the group’s sound has been totally removed as the likes of Jared Leto (30 Seconds To Mars), Jade Puget (AFI), Gerard Way and Julien K (of My Chemical Romance and Orgy respectively) and the dynamic duo of Patrick Stamp and Pete Wentz (both of Fall Out Boy) look at the first four singles from The Cure’s forthcoming 4:13 Dream LP and drag the material out onto a liquor licensed dance floor.

The mixes are (surprisingly) solid overall. As each unfolds, it’s obvious that while the first thought on The Cure’s collective mind or that of the individuals remixing these songs has never been how the songs could be manipulated to translate to an ecstatic dance experience, it works out okay in spite of the fact pains have been taken to remove a lot of the songwriting continuity (vocal lines have been diced up and the only parts that remain are the hooks) for a “dessert only” vibe. Even so, sometimes the dessert, as the reworkings of “The Only One” and “Sleep When I’m Dead” illustrate, can be as satisfying as a meal and the EP successfully straddles the ’preview of coming events’ and ’obviously remixed to bait long-time listeners’ line. While the remix of “The Perfect Boy” by Stump and Wentz isn’t even a shadow of what the duo has proven they’re capable of in recent years with Fall Out Boy (suffice it to say that this ain‘t no goddamned arms race either), but the track barely detracts at all from the proceedings as it is more than compensated for by the remixes done by Jared Leto and, most particularly, by 65 Days Of Static.

While it is definitely the center piece of the disc, it’s fitting that 65 Days Of Static’s “Exploding Head Syndrome (4 Single Remix)” appears at the end of Hypnagogic States. For their track 65DOS goes really, really big and takes all four of the tracks, combines them, and makes one spectacular mega-mix of “The Only One,” “Freakshow,” “Sleep When I’m Dead” and “The Perfect Boy,” that is flawless as far as each track mixes with no gaffes into the others and flows fantastically in summation of the EP. “Exploding Head Syndrome” is unmistakably the work of seasoned mix masters; while each of the others represents both the song and its original performers well enough, they also bore unmistakable traits of those at the board while 65 Days Of Static press the intrinsic Cure-ish-ness right up to the front and use their own talents to support, rather than obviously augment, the songs. At twenty minutes long (which also happens to be why the track isn't posted here), the song also retains the complete nature of the songs while not really trying to rewrite them and simply presenting a dynamic and compelling performance of all four at once; it’s pretty incredible.

Typically speaking, as good as a remixed offering might be it still leaves a lot to be desired because at the end it never feels like you’ve heard a record, you’ve only channel-surfed a couple of tracks. This EP is different though because it piques the interest of listeners and whets their appetites to hear the whole thing. Unlike most remixes, “Exploding Head Syndrome” particularly gives a little context in its movement and manages to present the directions that The Cure will probably be going in on 4:13 Dream; on the strength of that mix particularly, The Cure will find themselves in the unusual position that they’ll have to live up to those atmospherics on October 13th when the album hits.


Hypnagogic States is out now on Suretone/Geffen. Buy it NOW on

Comments are closed.