The Cure are an almost untouchable band. It's got nothing to do with how long they've been around for (there are plenty of bands with thirty year careers who've churned out utter tripe for the past twenty), or how many albums they've sold - it's the fact that they've cultivated such a respectable reputation for themselves, that every bassline that thuds dolefully is referred to as 'Cure-like'.
Maintaining that level of respect and influence can be a double-edged sword, though; you can bet that before the first bum note has been hit, the militant fans will be aghast and the cynics will be on the bandwagon in record time. Luckily, Robert Smith and co. had a solid foundation to build upon for their 13th studio album: 2004's 'The Cure' signified the quartet's return to form, and '4:13 Dream', for the most part, augments it further.
If, like Smith claimed, this record had been issued as a double album, it probably would have been disastrous: there are just enough tracks here to keep a steady pace, although the obvious filler (The Reason Why, The Hungry Ghost) help none. Nevertheless, there's a clutch of absolutely brilliant songs that are in places, sweeping, sombre, dark and melodic - Freakshow, This. Here And Now. With You., and excellent, disconcerting closer The Scream amongst the highlights.
Of course, the flipside of being such an influential band is that there's a real danger of self-parody - The Real Snow White, for example, veers worryingly close to sounding like The Killers going through their Cure phase, while Sleep When I'm Dead's jerky riff could have been plundered from Bloc Party. It's completely forgiveable, though, and doesn't stop 4:13 Dream from being any less satisfying.