The Cure have spoken to NME about progress on their long-awaited new album ‘Songs Of A Lost World’, as well as what to expect from their upcoming tour.
Having long teased the band’s long-awaited “merciless” new record – after telling us that two new albums were on the way back at the last NME Awards back in 2020 – Smith revealed to NME earlier this year that one of them would be “real very soon” and would be called ‘Songs Of A Lost World’.
Then today (Thursday May 19), after he and bandmate and songwriting partner Simon Gallup picked up the Icon Award at the Ivor Novellos, Smith again gave reassurance that the album was on the way and would be out before their upcoming winter tour.
“We will be releasing a new album,” Smith told NME. “I get fed up of saying this now! We will be playing from October and the new album will be out before then. We walked on [stage at the Ivors today] to a bit of new music, actually. Hopefully no one recorded it!”
At this point, Shakira interrupted the interview to shake hands with “her favourite band of all time”, before Gallup replied: “It is a surreal day”.
Back to ‘Songs Of A Lost World’, Smith then confirmed that “it’s almost finished”.
“Reeves [Gabrels] our guitar player has come over from America for the day just to finish a couple of solos, I’ve got to finish a couple of vocals,” he revealed. “Essentially it’s a 12 track album. It’s there, it’s kind of half-mixed and half-finished. It’s a weird thing. It’s kind of evolved over the last two years. It hasn’t always been a good thing to have been left alone with it. You pick at it, like picking at seams, and everything falls apart.
Smith continued: “It’ll be worth the wait. I think it’s the best thing we’ve done, but then I would say that. I’m not doing an Oasis when I say that, ‘IT’S THE BEST FOOKIN’ ALBUM’. A lot of the songs are difficult to sing, and that’s why it’s taken me a while.”
Discussing the themes and character of the long-awaited follow-up to 2008’s ‘4:13 Dream‘, Smith said that the album “doesn’t have very much light on it” and that it sounds “more like ‘Disintegration’ than ‘Head On The Door’.”
“It’s pretty relentless, which will appeal to the hardcore of our audience, but I don’t think we’ll be getting any Number One singles off it or anything like that!” he laughed. “It’s been quite harrowing, like it has for everyone else.
“I’ve been more privileged than most, but lockdown and COVID has affected me in as much as I’ve lost an entire generation of aunts and uncles in under a year. It’s things like that which have informed the way I’ve been with the record.”
Smith added: “Essentially we recorded two albums in 2019. I’ve been trying to finish two at the same time, which is pretty much impossible. One is nearly ready to go.”
As for the mysterious second record that they’ve been working on, Smith said Cure fans would likely have to wait a little longer to hear that.
“While there are a handful of really good songs, I’ve kind of fallen out of love with others so we’re going to have to record another four or five perhaps,” he said. “If it gets finished, it’s very upbeat. It’s the flip-side to the first one.
“I can’t wait to sing it, actually. I feel quite distraught singing the same songs over and over again.”
Speaking of accepting their Ivor Icon Award with Gallup, with whom he has been part of The Cure’s line-up since 1978 and 1979 respectively, Smith explained what the prize meant and why they songwriting collaboration worked.
“It is a strange one. I was thinking about it when we were walking up to collect the award – it felt strange to be leaving the other three at the table,” he said. “We got an NME Award a couple of years back for Best Festival Headliner. That meant a lot because we don’t often get recognised for that side of what we do live, but this is completely different.
“For me, it’s really lovely that Simon is up there with me. It’s criminal really, because he’s been there all the time.”
As for how they work together when penning material, he said: “With Simon, we send demos back and forth. Because I write the words, I decide what songs are going to progress and which ones aren’t. Often it’s the case that with hindsight I pick the wrong songs.
“I’ve just finished doing the ‘Wish’ remaster, and there are so many of Simon’s demos that never got past the demo stage and remained instrumental – purely because I couldn’t think of any words for them. That’s really sad, because some of them were really great!
“They’re all coming out as instrumentals, and I think there are about 36 unreleased songs coming out on the package. That’s the same every time we do anything. There’s always loads of music, and a lot of it is Simon’s. I just run out of words!”
Fans will get the chance to hear new material live at The Cure’s upcoming 2022 UK and European tour.
Asked if the gigs will be their legendary usual three hours plus in length, he replied: “Not if my band has anything to do with it! It will be slightly shorter than in the past, if I’m honest. It will be about two and a quarter hours, I think. That’s short!
“There will be a smattering of new stuff as we play through. Essentially the strength of the band live is the catalogue and the songs that we’ve got so it would be pretty dumb to play an hour of new music. Although some people would prefer us to do that!”
Smith added: “The size of the venues we’re playing, you need to engage everyone in the venue. You can’t just concentrate on the handful of people down the front. If it happens it’ll be great…that’s if Europe exists by the time we start…”
Last August, Gallup announced that he had left The Cure. However, in October, he told a fan on social media that he was still a member of the band. The bassist appeared on stage with Smith at the Ivors tonight, although he did not make an acceptance speech.
Smith’s last public appearances were for the BandLab NME Awards 2022 – where he picked up the Best Song In The UK Award for his Chvrches collaboration ‘How Not To Drown’ and after performed the track together live for the first time along with a cover of The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven‘ – and then again for a repeat performance of the songs with Chvrches at their Brixton Academy headline gig a week later.