Various Artists

Electro Cured: An Electro Tribute to the Cure

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With the inevitable telescoping of time, and with more than a little help from VH1, the Cure today have been tossed into the new wave, an odd fate for a band that was born (as the Easy Cure) in the fires of punk. Still, punk was never a monolithic genre, even in its earliest days, and the Cure were far removed from the smash-and-grab styling of the movement's godhead trinity of the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the Damned. Shrouding their songs in gloomy atmospheres and hypnotic rhythms, the Cure, along with such other practitioners of gloom pop as Siouxsie & the Banshees and Ultravox, opened the way for the raincoat brigade, fertilizing the field for goth's flowering in the following decade while also setting the stage for the shoegazers. The Cleopatra label now returns the Cure to their rightful musical place with this darkwave electro tribute album. Given a track list pulled from pre-1990, and thus plenty of poppier hits to choose from, the bands not surprisingly tend to opt for the group's punkier or more atmospheric numbers. But there are some aberrations: Joy Electric bring a Depeche Mode-esque dizzy keyboard to "Pictures of You," Godhead strew "Fascination Street" with new romantic elements, and Technova water the "Hanging Garden" with burbling keyboards and a Kraftwerk-ian atmosphere. A number of bands substitute synths for guitars to powerful effect, as with Ganymede's "A Forest." Elsewhere, Leather Strip enter menacing terrain, creating a "Lullaby" for monsters, while the Shroud take an entirely different tack, swaddling "Sinking" in champagne-styled keyboards, lush synths, and a pulsing live bass. Not every cover does the song justice, but virtually all make you reassess the original regardless, and appreciate them anew, which is precisely what a tribute album should do. And in that regard this homage is a winner.

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