Sun Jan 5
I once owned a The Cure tribute record, titled 100 Tears, released by Cleopatra Records and now lost to the ages. The album embodied everything wrong with goth music in the '90s (aside from having totally stupid names). They were a battalion of industrial/goth hybrid bands unabashed in their total worship of Robert, Porl and co. (justifiable), which then manifested itself in a disorderly explosion of rototoms, poorly programmed drum machines and whiny, trebly recordings (unjustifiable). It completely missed the point of why The Cure was one of the greatest bands of our time. The Cure were awesome simply because they wrote A. good melodies that managed to be brooding because of their B. perfect basslines. Robert Smith was a great songwriter, and god knows he was the epitome of "my perfect man" in junior high, but let's face it: on his own, the man's vocals could sound like a pack of yelping puppies. You really shouldn't imitate that. It is the sound of dying.
But what's really good about this whole "every new band, now retro" movement is that people are remembering/discovering what The Cure did right (aka what they did early on): taking bits and pieces of ideas and using them to create new music. The Vanishing Kids, a four-piece who relocated to Portland from Milwaukee a couple of months ago, are an excellent example of this. They use effects minimally and tastefully, and their guitars recall The Pixies long before the Lther Strip. And the bass is what drives this sort of music, so it's sinewy throughout the whole experience--dark, broody, and rhythmic, like the vocals. Vanishing Kids do employ some fantasy synths (nee keybs) similar in tone to the ones that permeate The Head on the Door, and that's the era they seem to cull from most. My favorite song of theirs so far (off the record they're working on, which will be out in March) is entitled "Glove." Ironically, it sounds a little like the band "The Glove." It pairs yearning vocals, also reminiscent of the goddess Siouxsie, with a post-punky concoction of steamy guitars, and the most perfect, skulking-melody bassline. It is a work of art.