This column is no stranger to the stalwarts of gothic new wave, having previously featured Joy Division in a previous entry.
In that previous article, I mentioned the top three bands in UK goth: Joy Division, Killing Joke, and The Cure. While all three bands sound entirely different—especially Killing Joke’s eventual metamorphosis into an industrial giant—they all have had an indelible influence on rock music since their initial impacts.
The Cure has arguably garnered the most mainstream success, having become one of the biggest bands leading the charge through the new-wave/college-rock/whatever-you-call-it scene of the late '80s and early '90s, penning multiple singles that still get regular radio airplay today. The band’s influence has been felt far and wide under the giant umbrella of rock music, from the softest indie rock to the heaviest bands in metal.
So stop living in between days as we look at five killer covers of songs by The Cure.
For a while in the early '00s, Boston hardcore/metal trailblazers Converge were appearing on quite a few tribute compilations, taking on songs by Negative Approach, Black Flag, and The Cure. The latter appeared on Disintegrated: A Cure Tribute Compilation, released by Philadelphia-based Too Damn Hype Records in 2000.
Converge takes the title track from Disintegration and scrambles it to an unrecognizable degree. In turn, they take an already great song and make it a swaying quiet-loud-quiet anthem, complete with Steve Brodsky guest vocals on a verse. The rest of the compilation doesn’t really have the same punch as this track, but does boast a bizarre roster including Chimaira, Bad Luck 13 Riot Extravaganza, and Where Fear and Weapons Meet.
Damnation A.D., "A Short Term Effect"
If there’s one band that no one should be surprised about appearing on this list, it’s Damnation A.D. Mike McTernan and company have made no bones about the influence The Cure has had on their band since its inception, even going to great lengths to replicate The Cure’s entire breakout album. Pornography. The much-rumored album finally came to the surface in 2017, released by Organized Crime Records.
The band morphs the moody goth-sounding album into a crunchy metallic hardcore effort, though there are little liberties taken outside of guitar tone and vocal delivery. One of the standout tracks is “A Short Term Effect," which sounds like it would have fit in on Damnation’s album In This Life Or the Next had they written the song themselves.
AFI, "The Hanging Garden"
Okay, I lied. AFI should surprise no one at their appearance on this list either. While the band spent quite a bit of time replicating all things Glenn Danzig, AFI has also been vocal about the influence The Cure had on the band, especially in their transition from a skate punk band to an alternative rock powerhouse.
The band recorded an interpretation of “The Hanging Garden” for 1998’s A Fire Inside EP. At this point, Davey Havok probably couldn’t turn off the Danzig switch, using a lot of that inflection on the vocals in the song. While the drums and bass drive the song forward, the spurts of loud guitars really give the song a new life.
Dinosaur Jr, "Just Like Heaven"
While alternative/shoegaze/grunge legends Dinosaur Jr may seem out of place next to heavy bands like Converge and Damnation A.D., they are also one of the many bands that have been influenced by The Cure. Even further, the band boasts the acclaim of Robert Smith with their cover of “Just Like Heaven."
Originally released as a single by SST Records, the band recorded the interpretation of the song for a compilation, but decided against turning it in because they were so fond of it. After sending a tape of the track to the Cure frontman, Smith said, “I've never had such a visceral reaction to a cover version before or since.” Smith also claimed it is his favorite version of the song.
Miltown, "Jumping Someone Else’s Train"
Massachusetts post-hardcore band Miltown may be the least-known band on this list, but in some opinions could be considered a supergroup of sorts. Featuring Only Living Witness vocalist Jonah Jenkins and recording geniuses Brian McTernan and Matt Squire, Miltown had a short run but left a few records in their wake. This includes a split with Cast Iron Hike, released in 1997.
While the Cast Iron Hike side contains only a GG Allin & The Murder Junkies cover, the Miltown side houses an original song and a cover of “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” by The Cure, originally from the US pressing of Boys Don’t Cry. Miltown turns the song into a driving rock anthem, complete with urgent drumming and octave chords from the guitars.
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