[Three and a half stars]
Robert Smith will probably never change. It’s quite possible that in another ten years, he will still be a disconsolate sixty-year-old adolescent obsessing about the many anguishes of love in the goth-new wave-post-punk whine of his defining days. Fine by us; it’s because of records like these that no one questions his relevance after having been around for well over three decades. 4:13 Dream finds The Cure at a kind of creative high plateau, cylinders firing at 80 per cent of their heyday steam, which allows them space to sneak in such fine tunes as the leisurely expansive opener ‘Underneath The Stars,’ a thick guitar jam that often sounds like something Neil Young may’ve done with Crazy Horse. There’s more standout guitar work strewn about (on the dance-punk ‘Freakshow’ and on ‘Hungry Ghost’), as is dark classic Cure (‘Sleep When I’m Dead,’ ‘Scream’) and some beautifully light songwriting (‘Only One,’ ‘This, Here And Now, With You’; both sung quite like Adam Duritz, only not as laboriously). It’s a couple of these angstier tracks that make 4:13 occasionally sound a bit loopy (‘The Real Snow White,’ ‘Witch’). But when the dream ends, with the smashing, suitably titled guitar-driven rave of ‘It’s Over,’ it does so at the end of an hour of reassuringly consistent and heady music.