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Steve Hackett - Cured  CD (album) cover

CURED

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

2.38 | 204 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Oh nononononono. I don't have anything against Hackett going in a more pop direction per se - after all, I'm the guy who goes gaga over "The Show" - but I feel like this wasn't the right way for Steve to try and make a pop album. It's bad enough that he shows himself as a middling pop songwriter at best on this album; it's made worse when (a) his vocals on the entire album sound like a bad Sting imitation, and (b) the music sounds just a couple of steps better than a bunch of demos, with all of the percussion parts provided by a pretty cheap-sounding drum machine. As a whole, the album feels like a cheap throwaway, and it's aged way worse than its predecessor.

What makes the album most frustrating, though, is that it has a lot of wasted potential. "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare" (an instrumental full of amusingly effective horror movie synths, good guitar work and some pounding bass from Steve himself) and "A Cradle of Swans" (a decent enough acoustic instrumental) are obvious highlights, the type of material that could serve as the bedrock for a good Steve Hackett album, but among the other tracks, only the opening "Hope I Don't Wake" (which opens with several Steves harmonizing before turning into a rather cheerful pop number) and "Funny Feeling" (a decent successor to "The Show," as it's a disco-based number dominated by synths but with a striking guitar part that pops up now and again) congeal into something I can mostly enjoy without reservation (though the vocals in each are weak enough that I still fidget). The most irritating offender is "Overnight Sleeper," which I consider a good instrumental wasted; I mean, it would be completely bonkers, combining up-tempo cheeseball synths with bits of moody guitar with train-imitating rhythm parts, eventually building into a cheerful (with bits of flute) and then angry climax, but it would work as a decent Defector knockoff. Instead, though, we have Steve's weak voice trying to add urgency to the proceedings but instead largely undermining it, and the track ends up sounding pretty weak on the whole.

The other three tracks are all unremarkable synth pop, and yet there are those little bits of decency coming out from time to time, taunting me and making me wish they'd be recycled somewhere else. "Picture Postcard," amidst its badly sung half-hearted New Wave messiness, has an organ-y synth riff that sounds like Tony Banks in one of his better Duke moments, and this almost fools me into thinking for a second that I like the song (which I don't). "Can't Let Go" is a seemingly endless bad Police imitation, and yet there's that menacing introduction (before the synths get too silly), and there's a guitar part in the middle (matched by a synth) that sounds fairly inspired (if very much early 80s). And the closing "Turn Back Time," uh, well, I could see it improved into something better with a few revisions; there's potential here with a little less in the way of adult-contemporary keyboards and a better vocalist.

So yes, there's definitely enough good here to keep me from outright hating the album, but when so many of those good parts are presented in such an unforgivably irritating way, it's hard for me to be too positive about the album. At least it's short.

tarkus1980 | 2/5 |

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