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Steve Hackett - Cured  CD (album) cover

CURED

Steve Hackett

Eclectic Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
1 stars Avoid this stinker. We'll blame this one on his Brazilian wife, Kim Poor - she even forgot to do a painting for the cover. Obviously, Steve was getting impregnated by his dear wife's Brazilian background and this completely permeates the album. Avoid at all costs!!! Actually does Steve ever look different than in the old Genesis days when he used to hide behind his glasses and beard, his hair is also getting shorter.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#26152)
Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
chrlsalvrz@ao
2 stars Not as bad as many make it out to be, but what kills the album is Steve's vocals and the "dated" but tasteful use of the then "vogue" Linn drums. This album is more POP oriented than any other album in his collection and most of the music has not aged well. Charles

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#26151)
Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Cured" is hampered by a handful of schmaltzy tracks, which smothers the isolated flashes of fire that erupt during some of the instrumental passages. The album cover features the guitarist behind a pair of tropical drinks, but bottled wine would have been more appropriate as it aptly describes the state of STEVE's voice. This seems to be a rite of passage for GENESIS members past and present - pushing their own timid voice into the spotlight as if PETER GABRIELS and PHIL COLLINSES grew in gardens - and HACKETT fares no better than ANTHONY PHILLIPS or TONY BANKS. Not that tracks like "Can't Let Go" and "Turn Back Time" are a good vocalist away from being good themselves; they'd still be sappy, but more easily dismissed. The problem with "Cured" isn't a lack of likeable ideas, but a lack of musicians to execute them. With only Nick MAGNUS and John HACKETT left from his existing "band", Steve is left with too much of the burden, and the arrangements stumble as a result. Of course, he concedes nothing in the guitar department, and the licks on "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare", "Funny Feeling" and "Overnight Sleeper" still spit hellfire.

Yet seldom have the commercial and artistic sides of STEVE HACKETT been so irreconciliable, and the result is an album that serves neither master particularly well. This is best left to completists and people who thought ANTHONY PHILLIPS' Sides was a good idea.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#26153)
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Poor album! The keyboards are awful! The guitar is not extremely good, but it makes properly the rhythms. Drums sound like programmed ones. HACKETT tries to be pop here, and he has more easiness than many prog bands like TRIUMVIRAT or GENTLE GIANT. But you feel that he will not get any success with this record! The most accessible one, picture postcard, is even far from any chance of success. Among his worst albums!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#26154)
Posted Monday, July 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Bad bad vocalist! Steve Hackett just cannot cut it as a forceful vocalist and 'Cured' delivers well short in the vocal department. Musically way too poppy. ' Cradle of Swans' and ' Overnite Sleeper' probably the best of a poor showing. I think SH was really very hung over when making this. He might have cured his liver but not his fanbase.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#26155)
Posted Tuesday, August 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Actually my introduction to Hackett's solo stuff, my dad owned this on cassette and I listened to it alot when I was younger. This is decent pop music with a clear message what decade we were in, but you can also hear trademark Hackett ideas in several of the songs. The highlights are "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare" and "Overnight Sleeper" which are the album heaviest and most progressive tracks and really saves this album from being a stinker for many. "A Cradle of Swans" is a beautiful acoutic guitar interlude and is also worth hearing. Me personally likes every tune here although they're not nearly as memorable as earlier Hackett efforts.

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#26156)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
heavym9@yahoo
3 stars it´s not a progressive album, and it doesn´t pretend to be it. I found this one enjoyable, nice, good songs, good arregaments, very 80s, the only problem are the vocals, you have to get used to them and maybe finally they fit good with the music. If you haven´t heard anything from steve hackett as solo, don´t expect too much from this one, just buy if you are a really good fan.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#26157)
Posted Sunday, March 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
els-lund@onli
3 stars Ladies & Gentlemen: Pop music with 9/8 time signatures! Of course, this album isn't very progressive, actually, it's more pop than prog, but it still have some really interesting time signatures (9/8, 10/8 etc.). I liked many of the songs but there are also some boring ones. Steve's voice is not VERY good but he sings OK through the album. Only for Hackett fans!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#26158)
Posted Tuesday, May 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This is my Fourth Chapter in MY BIGGEST PROGROCK DISILLUSIONS. This time the focus is on Steve Hackett. Due to several reasons I was never able to witness Genesis 70-77 but when Hackett left Genesis I was determined to follow him on his solo concerts. So I was there when he first visited Holland in '79 and since then I have seen Hackett every time he visited Holland. I enjoyed his gigs very much but I noticed that there was a growing amount of non-progressive songs, a bit too poppy or too romantic. The album "Cured" was for me the proove that Mr. Stephen Hackett was too happy with his Brasilian girlfriend Kim Poor. For me it's unbelievable that one person can write magnificent songs like "Unconditioned nightmare" and "Ovenight sleeper" and on the other hand crap like most of the other songs on this album! Hackett is one of my guitar-heroes, I dream away with his splendid DVD's and I was so delighted to hear "Firth of fifth" and his great rendition of "Watcher of the skies" during his latest concert in Holland last year but this album was a hugh disappointment.

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#37493)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Overall, it's not a bad album at all but it's not a good one either. So why bother purchasing this CD? For me personally, one chief reason was in the past a friend of mine, I'an Arliandy of Yess Bandung recorded a 90-minute compilation cassette that comprised Hackett's best. One of the excellent tracks that I loved and has since become my all-time favorite was "Overnight Sleeper" (track 7 of this album). I love it very much. It's not the kind of track you would expect a prog music would offer. But the ambience and nuance the song create is awesome. It combines wonderful keyboard work, flute by John Hackett and Steve guitar style in an uplifting mood and upbeat tempo. Whenever I listen to it, I always want to repeat this track. I think Mr Stephen Hackett wants to give more role of keyboard work and the result is a nice composition.

The other track that I also like but not as much track 7 is "Turn Back Time" - a mellow one. "The Air Conditioned Nightmare" is actually a good one to enjoy especially on the opening guitar outfit followed with soaring guitar and the electric guitar solo that leads the track. "Hope I don't Awake" is a pop song that sometime was played live by Steve. The rest of the tracks are basically not stand-out tracks that I have to admit. It's a regret actually that this album is not a good one, overall, especially if we compare with the critically acclaimed first three albums: "Voyage of the Acolyte", "Please Don't Touch!" and the great "Spectral Mornings". Sonic quality is not really good as well. The cover design and artwork? It's probably the worst cover I've ever seen for prog music. As I'm a fan of Mr. Hackett, I would not trade this collection but definitely if this one will be remastered or expanded like other prog band like Yes has done it, I will not buy it. It's your call whether you wanna purchase it or not. One thing for sure: "Overnight Sleeper" ruleszzz .!!!

Progressively yours, GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#37722)
Posted Sunday, June 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
chessman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well, this one is usually considered, all in all, as Hackett's weakest, and, I have to admit, when I rushed out and bought it, all those years ago when it had just been released, I was very disappointed. This was a trimmed down Hackett, producing what seemed to be, in essence, a pop album! What happened to the man who had released four classic albums prior to this? However...however. Over the years, I have grown to like this more and more. Now I rate it highly. Ok, Steve's voice isn't at its best here, though it has improved immeasurably over the years since, but the music is, in fact, catchy and, it has to be said, as good as any pop songs released at the time. What it does do, is demonstrate Steven's huge talent for composing in different styles, often unrelated to each other, yet always retaining that Hackett touch. 'Hope I Don't Wake' is a bright song to open the album. It has multi-layered vocals, and Steve harmonises with himself superbly. I have always felt that his harmonies are very good and this proves it. His guitar is more in the background on most of this album, but it still comes out at brief moments to great effect. 'Picture Postcard' is another pop song, but with superior melody, and nice guitar work here. Steve sings in probably too high a range on this album, but it has to be said, he is still superior to Steve Howe! 'Can't Let Go' has a less memorable verse than the first two songs, but the chorus somewhat saves it, with a little guitar thrown in nicely here and there, especially at the end of the song. 'The Air-Conditioned Nightmare' is probably the song most fans would choose as their favourite on the album. Ironically it is an instrumental, with brother John on bass pedal duties here. Of course, this track is dominated by Mr Hackett's supreme guitar work. A very good, slightly menacing piece, with Nick Magnus's keyboards more to the fore here as well. 'Funny Feeling' is another ok piece, again with nice harmonies and brief but effective guitar work at the start, and at the finish. 'A Cradle Of Swans' is one of my favourites. It is another good example of his exceptional acoustic work. A fine, melodic piece that would sit nicely on any of his acoustic albums. 'Overnight Sleeper' is, in my opinion, the hidden gem on this record. I love the guitar work here; it is played in almost Flamenco style. The whole song is fast paced and does indeed call to mind a train journey. Of course, John's flute only adds to the melody and atmosphere here. Probably my favourite on the album. Finally, 'Turn Back Time' is a slow ballad, devoid of frills and excesses, being instead a gentle and quiet piece that one can relax to and enjoy. A good ending to the album. No, this is not the strongest Hackett record, especially if you are looking for sparkling electric guitar work, but it is far better than most people believe it is. Having seen, over the years, how he can adapt and change his style at will, this is just another example of his diversity. When he finally regains ownership of the rights to this album, I will, without hesitation, buy the (hoped for) remaster that may be released. I will give it three stars, knowing that is isn't everyone's cup of tea, but, personally, when in the right mood for it, I would edge that up towards the four mark.

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Send comments to chessman (BETA) | Report this review (#70494)
Posted Saturday, February 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Steve Hackett's fifth studio album would utlimately be his most blatantly commercial and his weakest effort in my eyes, but it isn't a worthless record. The songs, while not being progressive are, show a musician trying to find his voice (literally) as most of these songs have Hackett on vocals and in the end, the results are mixed. I can't really rate this album high because for the most part, this album is very weak and pales in comparison to his past albums and even some of his future albums. In the end, it's not so much a bad record as much as it is a disappointment to Hackett fans.

From the opener of Hope I Don't Wake to the closing seconds of Turn Back Time, the great moments on this album are few and far between. Hope I Don't Wake has a terribly simplistic riff and structure, with no real invention in the vocal harmonies and the instrumentation, which doesn't show Hackett's true talents in the slightest bit. Picture Postcard, despite having some interesting bass lines and some interesting arpeggios doesn't really evolve at all and has some weak vocals from Hackett (who didn't really bloom as a vocalist until later in his career). It's much better represented live in the 70s, 80s, 90s box set in my opinion, with some great reinvention on the drums on guitar, but here it's nothing terribly special.

Can't Let Go brings some hope onto this album, with a nice ethereal keyboard opening and an interesting drum line and guitar solo, but the vocals on this track are once again less than superb. Still, it helps get this album totally out of the dumps. The Air Conditioned Nightmare also helps bring this album out of the ashes, with it's forboding synthesizers and magnificent floating guitar lines, as well as some great interplay between the keyboards and guitar. It's probably the best song on the album, in my opinion. Funny Feeling has this undeniable disco vibe to it, but the main guitar theme isn't all that bad, as well as some somewhat acceptable vocals, despite the overly pop nature of them. Some hints of Hackett's past can be heard in the guitar of the track, but it's not really enough to save it.

A Cradle of Swans is the acoustic piece of the album, and as always is an entertaining piece that displays Hackett's wonderful acoustic skills. Overnight Sleeper begins with some complex acoustic work from Hackett, but quickly becomes a synthesizer based piece with a riff slightly resembling the Dancing With the Moonlit Knight. It's one of the better tracks on the album, with some more incredible soloing from Hackett and some interesting flutes from John Hackett, as well as some shifting time signatures in the middle sections. Turn Back Time ends the album much like Hope I Don't Wake, only this time the track has a more defined AOR feel to it. There are some unique harmony vocals and some interesting keyboards from Nick Magnus, but other than that, nothing very special at all.

In the end, Hackett's Cured is a sore spot on an otherwise stellar career. The album isn't terrible, but it truly is a disappointment from this artist that has such high musical and artistic merits. If you like pop, though, you may find something to like about this album. Me? It's ok in my opinion, but nothing to reall write home about. 2/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#84343)
Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Not sure how he went from the awesomeness of Defector to this. Maybe he wanted to go pop like his former colleagues, but it's clear that a lot was off on this album. The real weakness of this album is the execution though. For some reason, Steve's voice sounds a lot worse on this album. He sings in a very high range, kind of like Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, and it just doesn't sound right. It is strange that he chose to sing this way since his voice sounded good on his other albums. Also, the keyboard sound hasn't aged well, and sounds a little too cheesy. Nevertheless, there are a few things to like in this album. Instrumentally it's still quite good, but there's not enough of it to warrant a higher rating than 2 unfortunately.

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Send comments to Gianthogweed (BETA) | Report this review (#93289)
Posted Wednesday, October 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
Australian
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars I have no stomach for negative reviews so I'll keep this brief. When I say this is a bad album I mean it, seriously this is well-worth not having it's a Steve Hackett failure. The keyboards, vocals and drums are all awful while the guitar for once ain't crash hot either. The drums in particular are bad and I think they are synthesized as they carry a fake sound to them. Worst of all Steve Hackett tries to make a pop album! Luckily he doesn't try is seriously for a while. I think it's funny that the real cover art is missing; it just goes to show that each artist has a flop album, and this is it for Steve Hackett! I'm not going to do a song by song analysis, I hate being negative I'll just say now that the songs are very poor, save possibly Overnight Sleeper which features some Hacketty traces. I recommend this album only to really hard-core Hackett fan, to everyone else don't get it. One star. Poor. Only for completionists

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Send comments to Australian (BETA) | Report this review (#93704)
Posted Saturday, October 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes, "Cured" is a very kitsch record. Maybe it's because I'm a huge Hackett fan but I enjoyed this album. It's a lighter album. The perfect soundtrack when you're on the patio with a margarita under the summer sun... And that's also the description of the cover art which is very cheesy! Musically, "Cured" is more accessible. It stills has some good melodies but it's less complicated than its predecessors technically. I give "Cured" an acceptable 3 out of 5.

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Send comments to drgrowl (BETA) | Report this review (#97915)
Posted Thursday, November 09, 2006 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars It's true that this is not a very proggy album, but as pop it sure beats most of what Genesis was doing around the same time. Technically, Hackett has a weak voice but it actually does suit some of the songs, especially "Funny Feeling" and "Hope I Don't Wake". There are certainly plenty of memorable melodies on Cured, including the aforementioned, and some of the lesser tunes drew me in after several listens, which is the mark of good music in certain genres, such as prog. These include Picture Postcard and Turn Back Time. Then several of the longer tracks actually show some development as well as great playing - Can't Let Go, Air Conditioned Nightmare, and the two-fer A Cradle of Swans/Overnight Sleeper. The album is pretty short, which is probably a blessing for most of the reviewers here.

More accurately I would give it 3.5 stars, but I feel obliged to defend this album's honour. At the time it came out I did not see it as a step down from Defector, but more like a move in a slightly different direction, an accessible pop-rock album, with the techical prowess I had come to expect from Hackett. I still think it sounds good today, but I have a lot of nostalgia tied up with it. I think I would like it even if I heard it for the first time in 2007, but cannot say for sure. So, prog heavyweights stay away, the rest of you may consider what I have said and decide for yourselves.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#120768)
Posted Friday, May 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Steve was building a reputation as one of prog rocks elite, having already released 4 critically aclaimed albums before "Cured", his next offering came along. Whereas his previous work had been distinctly entrenched in the Progressive movement, albeit in his own distict way, this new offering was unashamedly light and pop based.

Despite being very eclectic in nature, Steve had never ventured so dramatically from his expected format before, and so it was inevitable that he would throw many of his hard core prog fans off track with this album. To make things worse, the content of this album was not as strong creativley as his previous works. He was in effect damned by his previous sucesses.

The album starts off well enough with a decent openining called "Hope I don't wake", a folk-pop number with good harmonies. The next two offerings however do not fare as well. Picture postcard was released as a single, but Steve's voice is too weak for this track, and it is too meandering a theme to have been a good single. The next track "Can't let go" takes a while to warm up, and is let down by Steve's very high singing voice that again sound too weak for the material being played.

After the dissapointment of the last 2 tracks comes the best track on the album, "the air conditioned nightmare" - one of only 3 tracks on the oringinal album that were progressive in nature. Heavy, nightmarish, and furiously fast, with an excellent string based solo. This would have graced any of Steve's previous albums.

The upturn in quality is maintained by the next track "Funny Feeling". Unashmedly pop, but what a good song! You are hooked instantly by the first few uplifting bars, and are kept hooked. A fast and breezy number with good vocals and melody by Steve. This is the sort of song you cannot get out of your head for all the right reasons, - but why was this never released as a single?

Next comes a"A Cradle of Swans" a fair sounding classical guitar instrumental, which is followed by another good prog track in "Overnight Sleeper". This is a fast paced track in which Steve's vocals work well with the fast "Chug Chug" effect of synths impersonating a train.

The original album ended with "Turn back Time" - a slow dance number to which you will either warm to, or find it too "Twee" for your taste.

3 good tracks appear on the remastered version of this album. The first was composed by Mauro Giuliani and is called "Tales of the riverbank" - a gentle classical guitar piece that will bring warm childhood memories to older British fans. This was the theme tune to a childrens TV series in the 60's!

The second is one of Steve's very best acoustic offerings - "Second Chance". The interweaving melody of Steve's guitar and brother Johns flute is enchanting. Again this was used as a theme to a TV Drama programme in the 70's or 80s.

The album ends with a rousing live recording of "Air conditioned Nightmare" from the Reading Festival, which hints at what a great live act Steve is.

Although the album is decidely weaker than his earlier works, with Steve's new found role as lead singer not always meeting with success, there are still some strong tracks that make the album worth listening to. Get the remastered version, as the extra tracks lift this album into the three star category.

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Send comments to Leonardo (BETA) | Report this review (#127126)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I enjoy Cured but its flaws are hard to overlook. Nothing really sticks out in my mind except the track "Funny Feeling" which I get a kick out of. Don't be discouraged, Cured is fun to listen to and won't make you cringe like Genesis' pop offerings in the 1980s. I feel it is quite an exaggeration to call anything on Cured or its successor, Highly Strung "pop." Highly Strung especially reminds me of John Entwistle's solo work, which is dead on rock.

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Send comments to mcgoverntj (BETA) | Report this review (#127300)
Posted Monday, July 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Intended to bring home the bacon

Steve completes his migration from prog guitarist extraordinaire to wannabe pop hero with this collection. Even if we set aside the miserly 33 minute running time, there is little here in terms of musical quality to get excited about.

The first three tracks are little more than lightweight pop songs with basic structures and little instrumentation. With Hackett performing virtually the entire album himself, the vocals are at best adequate, but hardly of sufficiently quality to dominate such a lyrically intensive set. "Picture postcard" does at least have a sax break played by Bimbo Acock, but that really is about it as far as these tracks are concerned. Side one closes with the instrumental "The air-conditioned nightmare" where Steve at least offers some hints of what he does best, but the track is cut short just as it is becoming interesting.

Side two of the album is slightly better. Skipping over "Funny feeling" (another pop song), "A cradle of swans" is a delicate acoustic guitar solo along the lines of the first part of "Blood on the rooftops". "Overnight sleeper" actually sets off sounding a bit like a Rick Wakeman keyboards exercise, the rhythm and sound reflecting that of a speeding (night) train. Hackett switches between guitars as the track develops, but unfortunately also chooses to sing. Had the track remained an instrumental, with the added bonus of some fine flute by brother John, it would have been significantly better. The album closes with the delicate, "Harlequin" like "Turn back time", an inoffensive but unimpressive song.

It seems Steve had decided to abandon his prog roots in search of commercial success here. What he seemed to overlook was that to pursue commercial (pop) success, you have to have some strong material in terms of hooks and melodies. Also, you still have to offer value for money.

The sleeve includes a touching dedication to his girlfriend Kim Poor, but to blame her for this disappointing set would be too convenient.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#130287)
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album probably came to the surprise of long time Hackett fans. In a time where many self-proclaimed "proggers" had jumped off the Genesis ship, many probably took this album like a knife in the back. "Shorter songs, simpler structures, and worst of all, it's POP!" they'd say. Well, the fact that its pop is not the problem here. The fact that Steve is doing his own vocals, replaced a live drummer with a machine, and seemed to have hired an eight year old for the lyrics are the biggest concerns. Most of the songs are lacking in melody and never seem to find a direction. Apparently, he was trying to produce some light, relaxing pop songs indicative of the cover. But, it simply does not work. It comes off as extremely cheesy and cold.

However, "Cured" is not without it's moments and is not as abominable as some would have it. The pop formula actually works very well for "Overnite Sleeper", which features a very addictive flute part that recalls "Jacuzzi" from his previous album. This is padded with sections that more resemble his "prog" style. This style also peeks its head out own "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare", a 5 minute instrumental with great keys and guitar. The only other song worth listening to is the classical guitar piece "Cradle of Swans" , which is very pleasant. But, three tracks is not enough to carry the album, which is easily Steve's weakest.

Final Analysis: It seems Hackett was taken out of his element for this one and tried a little too hard, rather than doing what comes natural to him. Worth a listen though for the three songs that are excellent (see below (or above)).

Highlights: "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare", "Overnight Sleeper", "Cradle of Swans"

Weaknesses: everything else

Rating: 2 stars

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Send comments to White Shadow (BETA) | Report this review (#136360)
Posted Wednesday, September 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This album is no better than one of the poor Camel production of the late seventies.

It is really the impression I got while listening to "Hope I Don't Wake". If this is an indicator of the work on this album, let's be prepared for the worse. And the worse (which took already place with the opening track) just goes on with the "Police" oriented "Picture Postcard". A pitiful exercise. What happened, Steve?

You were one of the most creative artist in my most venerated prog band (at least this is my opinion) and what is delivered here is just miserable music.

The start of "Can't Let Go" could have indicated an improvement, but after one minutes these awful vocals and poor beats are destroying the felling. Totally. Press next of course. But so far, you could have done it already three times. What happened, Steve?

To remind us of better days, unlike its title could have announced, "The Air Conditioned Nightmare" is one of the "best" track available. Not brilliant, but at least it shows that Steve didn't forget about his musical origins.

Another weak moment (the worst one maybe) is by no doubt "Funny Feeling". Absolutely not funny. These disco sounds are rather incomprehensible for someone who claimed having disagree about the musical orientation of "Genesis". I can' t understand this. Can you please explain, Steve?

As an oasis in this immense desert, the very much "Horizons" oriented "A Cradle Of Swan" just reminds us of his former life. While they were five. Back in 1973.Almost three minutes of good music. Welcome back, Steve!

The Oldfield mood is back again during Overnight Sleeper. Not bad instrumental parts, but very weak vocal ones. And to be honest, the mellowish Turn Back In Time is just another insipîd ballad. Not really worth, I'm afraid.

One star. What happened, Steve? HELP!

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#159760)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Steve Hackett is finally cured from his previous vocal inhibitions

Don't get me wrong, there were some great vocal moments from Steve on previous albums as well, but most of the songs were handled by guest vocalists, or by Peter Hicks. Also a lot of the time, when he did get to sing, Steve felt the need to "hide" his own vocals behind effects and/or humour on songs like The Ballad Of The Decomposing Man, for example. Cured is the first album on which he did all the vocals himself and his voice sounds very good here. The a cappella introduction to Hope I Don't Wake is a powerful statement to that effect. Surely, these layered vocals have been given a studio treatment of some kind (apart from the layering itself), but everyone does that (well, not really but you get my point). Steve is often accused of not being a good vocalist, but I think he has a wonderful tone to his voice, and from this album onwards he was the perfect vocalist for his own music.

Because of Steve's newfound confidence in the vocal department this album is more song orientated than his previous, more instrumentally based albums. This has led some people to dismiss this album as a pure Pop record. I think that is just a little bit rash. I agree that there are several poppier songs here, notably the first three and also Funny Feeling. But the instrumental attack of guitars, keyboards and bass is basically the same as on Defector and Spectral Mornings. There are drum machines on this album, however. I usually hate drum machines but they don't bother me too much here.

Further, the great instrumental Jazz-Rock/Fusion workout on Air Conditioned Nightmare would have fitted perfectly on any of the two previous albums both in terms of style and quality. The guitars, bass and keyboards all sound amazing here.

A Cradle Of Swans is the obligatory classical guitar piece. Not one of Hackett's most memorable, but it works as a nice little interlude. Interestingly, the bonus tracks on the new CD edition includes two other classical guitar pieces that are much better than A Cradle Of Swans. So make sure that you get the remastered edition.

My favourite track from Cured is Overnight Sleeper. This song has a classical guitar intro that leads into a loud and somewhat mysterious keyboard melody. At this stage you think that this is going to be another instrumental Fusion track in the style of Air Conditioned Nightmare, but instead it turns into a vocal rock/pop song. After that there is a danceable(!) Folk passage with hand claps and flute leads by Steve's brother John Hackett. The vocals return and towards the very end it turns into a fast Jazz-Rock/Fusion workout again. A very eclectic piece, that really sums this album up.

The album ends with Turn Back Time which is a slow, emotional ballad with a strong vocal performance. Not too interesting though.

As I said, there are some Pop songs here, if you cannot stand any of that, then stay away! Personally, I have something of a soft spot for this album. For me it is very listenable. I have actually listened to it three times today while writing this review - it is somehow addictive stuff for me. The eclectic Overnight Sleeper, the instrumental fusion of Air Conditioned Nightmare and the vocally strong and melodious Hope I Don't Wake should not be missed by hard core Hackett fans.

Cured is not at all as bad as some people say! Still, there are no real classic songs on this album like Every Day from Spectral Mornings or Camino Royale from Highly Strung. There should not have been drum machines here. And the cover art work is just horrid!

So, this is certainly not the best place to start if you want to discover Steve Hackett's solo career. Quite the contrary, actually. But it is still a good album with some great moments. His next album Highly Strung is in many respects much better and that album has most of the good aspects of this one, but fewer of the negative ones.

Good, but not essential.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#185842)
Posted Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Cured? Give me back the disease please.

I guess the title and album cover are meant to be a little joke. We see Steve nursing what appears to be a tropical drink, so either he's cured himself of sobriety or is having the hair of the dog, so to speak, to cure a hangover. Unfortunately, the typical progressive music fan will probably need a few stiff ones to make it through this album.

I can only guess that Steve was a little envious of the commercial success Genesis was having and decided to make a go of it himself. On the bright side the album does only last for a just little over 30 minutes. Then on the other hand, that did leave enough room for at least one longer prog song or a couple of shorter ones, which would have improved the average quality of the album. The commercial tracks offered here are just so-so as pop songs go and let's face it, Steve's vocal style really isn't one with commercial potential.

The bright spots on the album are the creepy The Air Conditioned Nightmare and the acoustic guitar piece, A Cradle Of Swans. Also, to a lesser extent, the ode to a bad dream, Overnight Sleeper. The rest are kind of snorers. Fortunately, Steve did get better and has subsequently added many fine progressive and classical style albums to his catalog. I finally added the CD version of this to my collection, but primarily out of nostalgia as I saw him on tour for this one. Barely rounds up to good, but non-essential.

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#202262)
Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars First of all, this isn't much of a prog project. Again, I was warned about what kind of material I would find on it, but since it was Steve Hackett, well, what can I say? I bought it anyway. I was very disappointed. After all this time, I still only like about 3 of the tunes on this. I will talk about the songs I do like and leave it at that.

I really liked "Air conditioned Night" a lot! It is of course an instrumental that tears your throat out, you might say. Steve makes liberal use of the slide and does a good job. I have to say here that Steve Hackett isn't known for his soloing a whole lot and he stays true to form on this also. In fact there is not much to drool over at all on "Cured," as far as lead guitar goes. If you want to hear good solos, listen to people like Steve Vai. Steve Hackett has other qualities that make him a real standout. He is original, he does do some excellent mini solo runs. It is a treat to hear them. He is an absolute master on the classical guitar. So Steve makes up for any deficiencies he has as a soloist.

The next tune is "Cradle of Swans," which is a wonderful classical piece. Steve delivers the goods here and I loved it.

The last song I liked was "Overnight Sleeper." You feel like you are in mexico and the music also sounds like a roaring train. Steve sings and I like his voice, no matter what the criticism.

Other than that, I could care less about the rest of the material. It is like Steve is trying to sell out like Genesis did.

I would say there just isn't enough good music on this to warrant more than 11/2 stars. The classical guitar piece still isn't enough to salvage any higher ratings from me. It is a real shame too! So it gets 2 stars for PA.

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Send comments to Keetian (BETA) | Report this review (#278065)
Posted Thursday, April 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Oh, the early 80´s... what a bad time for 70´s prog acts! Well, I guess Steve Hackett had to try his talents on the pop market sooner or later, and Cured was the result. Not too bad if you compare it to the downright hideous solo stuff some of his ex Genesis bandmates were doing at that period: Tony Banks The Fugitive and Mike Rutheford´s Acting Very Strange. However, I was not really sure where he would like to go with Cured: it is too pop for his audience up till then and too progressive for the pop market. Quite an schizofrenic album it is... A very short one also (it constains little more than 33 minutes of music in all)

On the positive side what strikes me most is Hackett´s new found vocal habilities. He handles all the voices (often multitracked) and does a suprisingly good job on all of them. Unlike Banks and Rutheford his voice is quite pleasant and works wonders all the time. I had to go to the credits to see if he was the sole singer or if there was some guest. Nope. He did it. Kudos to him. His guitar playing is still brilliant and fluid as ever. However, the the keyboards are pretty much dated, with that typical plastic synth sound of the period. And there is the almost inevitable programmed drum machine.Too bad. The songwriting here is not that good either. The lyrics are bland at best, but I could live with that if the tunes were stronger.

There is, of course, some nice stuff here, specially on the instrumental side. But the results are quite uncharacteristic. His transition was a bit too radical, I guess. Genesis transformation into a pop outfit was a far slower process that worked well, at least commercially. They were able to retain a large portion of their former fans through the years and acquire many new ones. Here things did not worked out that well. He is not a pop artist in the vein of Phil collins ofr sure (who always had a knack to write good hooks and melodies). The presence of some acoustic instrumentals sound completely out of place when put together with the more commercial stuff.

Cured was clearly a mistake, not a sin. Not a too bad mistake either, since it had some nice moments, but a mistake anyway. Definitly an album for (hardcore) fans and collectors. And not the one a newbie should pick up if he wants to start to know the work of one of prog´s greatest and most influential guitarrists.

Rating: 2,5 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#302624)
Posted Thursday, October 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Quite a change and a drop in quality from his previous work overall, but the songwriting, for the most part is still pretty strong. Just a different style than his fans were probably expecting at the time. Nothing wrong with that, of course. In fact, Steve does all the vocals on this album, and I think his voice suits these types of songs very well, especially when he's harmonizing with himself, as on the almost country-ish "Hope I Don't Wake" and even moreso on the very memorable "Funny Feeling", which employs THE perfect reverb for his multi-tracked vocals. "Picture Postcard" is probably the most creative of these songs, with a nice picked clean-tone electric guitar part moving alongside a good synth-bass part. Probably the weakest aspect of this album are the drum parts, which are played on a drum machine - something I don't usually have a problem with, but these are those really bad 80's drum machine parts. You've all heard them: simple deep kick and snare patterns that are mixed way too loudly. It doesn't really help that the arrangments as a whole aren't really all that spectacular, but that's to be expected from a homemade album only recorded by two people (him and his keyboardist, Nick Magnus, with a few guest exceptions.) The instrumental "The Air- Conditioned Nightmare" is noticably affected by these production shortcomings, but Steve is still playing very well, and if you're a fan of his electric insturmentals, you'll probably appreriate this song. It's also interesting to hear this type of production on a song with mulitple time- signature changes, "Overnight Sleeper", which reminds me of a later Jethro Tull intsrumental, even though it contains vocals. The album ends on a nice calm note with "Turn Back Time", which is really a very good ballad. Recommended to open minded Hackett fans and anyone looking for obscure pop from the early 80's.

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Send comments to 7headedchicken (BETA) | Report this review (#531710)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Having acquired Mr Hackett's recently released album, 'Beyond The Shrouded Horizon', and what a difficult journey I've had connecting with it, it dawned on me just how patchy Steve's solo career has been - I've decided to give this old record from 1981 another spin. This one is, in part, a POP album, with just enough prog flourishes to raise it to a marginal level of appreciation. The album's main negatives are the lack of a drummer and Steve's whimpy vocals, but for a work with only himself and keyboard whizz Nick Magnus (who has a superb list of equipment, by the way), the result isn't as bad as some may have you believe. Minor contributions on sax and flute from Bimbo Acock (glad that's not my name...) and Steve's brother, John, respectively. Opening with a vocal passage which reflects a somewhat KANSAS-ish vocal idea (Wayward Son), 'Hope I Don't Wake' is average fare pop, followed by the middle-of-the-road 'Picture Postcard', which is pleasant and brings to my mind CAMEL's 'Single Factor' period. Up next, the longest cut at under 6 mins (whoa, epic...), 'Can't Let Go' starts out superbly, ominous Novatron strings backed with an odd rhythm (something like Jacob's Ladder by RUSH), launching into some symphonic keys, but when the vocal arrives it turns commercial sounding. Nice bass (by Hackett) and the clavinet is also tastefully played. The guitar is crying out on the intro to 'The Air Conditioned Nightmare', obviously the finest track on the album. Icy keyboard arrangements and a heavy beat make this one a real winner. Awesome guitar and mini-moog soloing. A great instrumental, start to finish. More adult-contemporary pop with the up-beat, polysynth driven 'Funny Feeling', which leaves me with anything but....... Wait a minute, the middle break offers a few bars of complexity, but it's not enough to save this one from being somewhat mediocre. 'A Cradle of Swans' is a typical Hackett classical guitar solo, showing what direction he'll take on up and coming albums. It recalls his playing in 'Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers' from the wonderful 'Wind and Wuthering' album by GENESIS - no bad thing. 'Overnight Sleeper' opens out dramatically, and features some jolting odd rhythms, folky interjections and is another strong composition. The album finishes off with a mellow ballad, 'Turn Back Time', again very pleasant, but nothing too special. Seems like Steve has been soaking up too much Acapulco (or Rio...) sunshine and soaking in too many Pina Coladas to put more thought into this offering. Barely 3 stars, but revisiting this wasn't a bad 30-odd minutes - its brevity is appreciated.

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#585861)
Posted Saturday, December 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#915773)
Posted Monday, February 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Along with Spectral Mornings, 'Cured' is probably Steve Hacketts best album. Well, I haven't heard them all yet...

'Cured' presented a huge shift in style for the man. I mean everything, from the way he made his albums to the vocals and the music and... even the cover photo!

Cured is very much 80's AOR and 'pop' music and very light too. One thing I really enjoyed is how this albums NEVER feels like a forced attempt by the record company to make a pop album (Anthony Phillips' "Invisible Men" comes to mind). This album seems to have come straight from Steve's heart.

People who analyse music often point to 'authenticity' - by which I mean that music which the musician made honestly was presenting their true persona. Their selling themselves to you, not any fabrication. I suppose it relates to artistic transparency.

I have almost never found a record as so honest or sincere as 'Cured' - it is truly authentic. Although Steve Hackett is a musician FAMOUS for his intricate and complex pieces and, obviously, progressive rock, his greatest gift might be his sincerity.

Sure, Steve went and made an 80's pop record. But he could have made it all dancey and commercial. Instead, he delivered this sincere album that feels like a tribute to his girlfriend / wife of the time, and is really touching, and he opens up about his emotional insecurity in a most unpretentious way.

Recommended listening.

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Send comments to Brendan (BETA) | Report this review (#1084267)
Posted Monday, December 02, 2013 | Review Permalink

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