Long Lasting Treatment

The ingredients may change, but the Cure endures

In fact, Smith had originally intended to make a spare record built around a string section, piano and acoustic guitar. A few songs on the final product, such as the muted, aching tune, "This Is a Lie," reflect that approach. But elsewhere, Mood Swings ended up departing drastically from the initial concept. The new CD is one of the most varied of the Cure's 14 studio records, veering from tunes such as "Want" and "Club America" that reflect the moody, chiming pop sound that's defined the group's recent records to the giddy, almost bossa nova feel of "Gone!" to "The 13th," a pop tune that blends Latin rhythms and festive horns.

"It's a much more honest way now, the way it turned out. It reflects a group of people making music, rather than me trying to take one particular style and work at that style," Smith says. "I think I would have felt very uncomfortable, certainly I don't think we would have toured, if we had made an album that was just, like, string quartet, piano and acoustic guitar."

The group's desire to redefine the Cure was reflected in the choice of "The 13th" as the new CD's first single. Gallup sums up the band's thinking this way: "I think that people sometimes have a preconceived idea of what the Cure are meant to sound like. We wanted to break that down in a way; it was something where we just [wanted] to sort of break down all the preconceptions of us. Because even before the record was released, the English press was writing things like we're quintessentially Goth. And you think, well, you haven't even heard the record yet, and I don't know that we've ever been Goth. I don't know why we ever got labeled with Goth type, because we sort of didn't come out of that at all. Contrary to popular belief, we don't go around wearing black all the time."

Smith echoes his bandmate's frustrations over the Cure's image. "It's sort of like an in-joke in the group, and it has been for years," he says. "We either suffer from being doom and gloom merchants, or we're insanely happy and we're doing 'Friday I'm In Love.' I think we're about the only band in the whole world that the media tries to force to exist in one or other of those areas. We're not allowed to exist in both, and everywhere in between, which we always have."

"We started out as a pop group," Smith adds. "It seems quite extraordinary that after all this time people still think the Cure is doom and gloom. Yet if you ask them what they think and what they remember of the Cure, most people would probably say 'Friday I'm In Love,' and I'd say, well, how can you reconcile those two? And there's kind of a blank look.

The variety of music found on Wild Mood Swings, Smith says, may change that. But then again, Wish was varied, and the Cure was still seen as, well, the Cure. It may be that as long as Smith stands out front with his thick layers of makeup and styled-by-electric-shock hair, no change in the sound will change the group's image. But then again, who knows what sort of mood swings are possible not only in the Cure, but the public as well?

The Cure performs at 8 p.m. Friday, August 23, at the Summit. Tickets are $26.25 and $31.25. For info, call 629-3700.

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