Album: The Cure

The Cure, GEFFEN

As with Morrissey, no one could ever accuse Robert Smith and The Cure of challenging their audience with sudden, unexpected changes in musical direction. Like 2000's Bloodflowers, this eponymous first instalment of the band's new three-album deal with Geffen finds Smith reprising his usual role of the emotionally racked adolescent - almost as embarrassingly inappropriate in a 44-year-old man as his clumsily trowelled mascara - amid a swirling fog of heavily chorused guitars and synth-pads. In other words, pretty much the same as every other Cure album since they went full-blown Goth, except that there's no "Love Cats" to provide a little light relief. The closest The Cure comes to such whimsy is "Taking Off", an uncharacteristic burst of lovestruck exhilaration. Otherwise, Smith is adrift in confusion and melodramatic torment right from the opening strains of "Lost", whose glum discordancy presages a string of songs seemingly triggered by the collapse of a relationship. The key word here is "don't", which recurs in song after song, in lines such as: "I don't want another go around", "Don't say more to me at all" and "Don't tell me that you care". The album's just as stunted musically as emotionally, the bleak chordings and grey washes barely differing throughout, whatever an individual song's outlook.