Break out the raincoats and black nail polish, Robert Smith is back. With the release of Bloodflowers (Elektra), The Cure has returned to doing what it always does best – making the perfect rainy-day music.
After being lost for a decade in upbeat pop, The Cure returns to the sounds it perfected with Bloodflowers. The music has the dark, melancholy sound that perfectly sums up the angst of adolescence without making it seems silly or dumb.
Many Cure fans will find ample comparisons between Bloodflowers and The Cure’s 1989 classic Disintegration. Both albums have the same style and sound. And, the songs on Bloodflowers, which often run more than seven minutes, resemble the mini-epics on Disintegration than the three-minute pop ditties that filled The Cure’s last two albums, Wish and Wild Mood Swings.
The album opens with Out of This World, which is filled with all of The Cure’s strengths. The music overflows with shimmering guitars and bass, and the keyboard flourishes. However, instead of each part standing out as in previous Cure songs, the sounds meld into an entrancing whole. Over the instruments, Smith sings in the croon that Cure and goth fans have come to love.
Other songs follow this same pattern, but you do not get lulled into boredom. Instead, you are pulled into the dark world The Cure has always sought to create. On Bloodflowers, the band has come closer than ever to bring you into its world. Songs such as Where the Birds Always Sing and The Loudest Sound have a grandiose feel to them – something that would be perfect in the arena or stadium. The Loudest Sound also has The Cure playing around with electronic effects. Instead of using the sounds to be trendy, they are worked in subtly, using them to create an echo effect that adds to the desolate feel of the song.
While many of the songs will sound pleasantly familiar to Cure fans, Bloodflowers does have a couple songs that show the band branching out in a different direction. There Is No If. takes a simpler approach – just Smith’s voice over an acoustic guitar and sparse effects. It’s a small, beautiful love song that stands out among all the richer, more complex songs because of its simplicity.
Watching Me Fall is one of the stand-out songs on the album, and one that will join classics such as Charlotte Sometimes and Prayers for Rain. For years, The Cure has been seen as a mopey, naval-gazing band. Watching Me Fall goes a long way to counter this image. It is one of the angriest songs The Cure has ever recorded. From the opening guitar explosions to Smith screaming the choruses, the song radiates with a power and a menace the band has only hinted at in other songs.
In the classic South Park episode with Mega-Striesand, the kids enlist the help of Robert Smith to fight off the creature. Before Smith joins battle, Kyle cries out Disintegration is the best album of all time! Bloodflowers is a definite contender for that title. If this album is The Cure’s last, as the band keeps hinting, then it is definitely going out on top.