Review Summary: The cure for The Cure blues.
It hasn’t been the best of times for The Cure fans lately, more like 14 long, hard, miserable years since their last output of any relevance. They followed that up a decade ago with the abysmal and disappointing 4:13 Dream, with only the vague promise of a more gothic effort to come shortly, but that idea was quietly and indefinitely shelved. Truthfully, the band has been dead to me for quite a long time, and no other artist has quite managed to fill that void.
Enter Brandon D’s solo project, Goodbye To Sleep. Brandon is a chameleonic jack-of-all-trades artist who has deftly pulled together seemingly disparate influences into a cohesive brand. He also has an uncanny ability to mimic the vocals and stylistic mannerisms of Robert Smith during the 17 Seconds/Faith/Pornography era, which imbues this release with a potent layer of nostalgia.
After a brief atmospheric intro, things kick off proper with lead single I Lost You In The Cold, which oscillates between dreamy ambience and a massive, wailing Robert Smith hook. It’s all bookended by slabs of raw, anguished black metal, the latter portion which ends far too soon for my liking, but the chorus is so strong and memorable that it hardly tarnishes the song.
Is This What Love Is is another killer cut with its trudging funereal atmosphere, ear-worm hook, and ominous Peter Steele sounding bridge. But probably the highlight of the album is Closer To Hell, Closer To You which eschews metal almost all together in favour of more glorious Cure worship with only very brief and occasional bursts of blasting drums and demonic screaming. The song is just so moody yet upbeat, and reminiscent of the most classic Cure songs.
(Void.) is more traditional black metal fare, but the Immortal-style harsh vocals during the verses just don’t sit too well with the rest of the album stylistically even if they work well on their own. The song sticks out a bit, but it’s far from a dud, sporting some really eerie synth melodies and yet another fantastic chorus hook that will bury itself in your psyche.
Bathe In Silence (Of Time We Lost) is the only real misstep, focusing on a repetitious chorus that’s just slightly on the wrong side of angst and comes off a bit whiny as a result. Closer Don’t Forget Me II isn’t as strong as the heavyweight tracks here but it ends things in a fitting fashion, if a bit abruptly.
But this demo is greater than the sum of its parts; The ambient, black metal, emo, and shoegaze elements come together in unexpected ways for a release that has character and mood to spare. While some of the vocal choices don’t quite pay off, when they do it’s very hard to turn away from the result.