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The Cure are back, baby—at least, that’s what they’re saying. Robert Smith, the frontman of the seminal ‘80s alternative band, said in an interview following their induction into this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class that the band was hard at work on a new album. Their last album of new material was 2008’s 4:13 Dream, and with more than a decade between then and now, it can be hard to gauge what to expect from the goth-rockers. Here’s a deep-dive look at everything we know so far.
Smith recently stated in an interview with BBC 6 Music that he’s avoided the interview circuit for some time because of his lack of inspiration to create new music. “It might just be a reaction to the fact that in the modern world, people talk endlessly about nothing,” he said, adding that having no album to discuss makes “the whole notion of doing an interview become redundant.”
Though Smith may have been uninspired to create, he and his band have still remained active on the festival circuit. They’ve become renowned for their epic live shows, many of which stretch into the zone of multiple hours. At a Mexico City gig in 2013, the band played a four-hour show in celebration of Smith’s 53rd birthday, falling just three minutes short of Bruce Springsteen’s record of four hours and six minutes. In 2018, the band celebrated their 40th anniversary with a massive show in London’s Hyde Park, their first U.K. show since a residency at London’s SSE Arena Wembley the previous winter. They also headlined the Smith-curated Meltdown Festival. And, of course, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, though they didn’t have to do much for that. They’ve been busy, but this year marks their first time in the studio with new material in years.
Maybe a better question would be what new sounds can The Cure explore? How do they fit into today’s music landscape? It’s a question with no clear answer, although Smith has been forthcoming in terms of his inspiration for the project.
In an interview with SiriusXM, Smith said that he felt motivated to get back in the studio following the 2018 Meltdown Festival in London, a festival the band performed at and Smith helped curate. “Seeing all these new bands inspired me to do something new,” he said. Some of those newer acts may include Welsh singer-songwriter The Anchoress, Scottish singer Kathryn Joseph, French post-metal band Alcest and British experimentalists 65daysofstatic.
The wide-ranging genres present in Smith’s curated festival may give us a look at what sounds are inspiring him at the moment, and if these band are any indication, he’s got a lot of music on his mind. “I’ve listened to more new music in the last six months than I ever have,” Smith said in the BBC interview.
Smith also said during an interview with The Guardian that he had “hardly written any words” in the intervening years since 4:13 Dream. “I have tried to write songs about something other than how I felt but they’re dry, they’re intellectual, and that’s not me,” he said. Genuine care for the craft is always a good sign from a legacy act, especially when the allure of a cheap cash-in is so daunting.
In that same SiriusXM interview, Smith said that the band would be finishing the album “in about six weeks time,” adding that it’s “very exciting times for us all around.” Given that the interview aired two weeks ago, it looks like we’ve got even more reason to celebrate the new year, because the album will likely be out in January.
The timeline makes sense—the band has said that they plan on touring extensively in 2019, with Smith saying they would be playing up to 20 festivals in the summer alone. The first festival they’ve signed on for, South Africa’s Rock on the Lawns, takes place in mid-March, so a release date would most likely precede that, with some ample time for digestion and rumination, of course.
Smith revealed in a March radio interview that the band’s new album is complete, saying, “We’ve just recorded a new album for the first time in 10 years.”
Listen to a 1984 performance by The Cure below, check out the band’s full list of 2019 festival dates further down, and stay tuned for more on their new album.
16 – Joannesburg, South Africa @ Rock on the Lawns
18 – Cape Town, South Africa @ Rock on the Lawns
08 – Dublin, Ireland @ Malahide Castle
13-15 – Nickelsdorf, Austria @ Nova Rock Festival
16 – Florence, Italy @ Firenze Rocks
21-23 – Schessel, Germany @ Hurricane Festival
21-23 – Neuhausen ob eck, Germany @ Southside Festival
24-26 – Zagreb, Croatia @ INmusic Festival
28 – Werchter, Belgium @ Rock Werchter
04 – Novi Sad, Serbia @ Exit Festival
06 – Roskilde, Denmark @ Roskilde Festival
11 – Lisbon, Portugal @ NOS Alive Festival
12-13 – Madrid, Spain @ Mad Cool Festival
17 – Athens, Greece @ Ejekt Festival
18-20 – Ostrava, Czech Republic @ Colours of Ostrava
22 – Bucharest, Romania @ Rock the City Festival
03 – Moscow, Russia @ Afisha Picnic
07 – Oslo, Norway @ Oya Festival
09-11 – Helsinki, Finland @ Flow Festival
16 – Glasgow, U.K. @ Glasgow Summer Sessions
23 – Paris, France @ Rock en Seine