The Cure, an English rock band formed in 1976, was just announced as a headliner for this year’s Lollapalooza (see the full lineup here). Throughout the many years the band has existed, frontman Robert Smith has remained the only constant member. The Cure played a major role in the United Kingdom’s post-punk era and new wave movement. In the 1980s, they made contributions to the then-new gothic rock genre, and they grew to become one of the most popular alternative rock bands in the world.
“Friday I’m in Love”, “Lovesong”, and “Just Like Heaven” are perhaps the most recognizable songs by The Cure today. They incorporate dance rhythms and have a generally happy feel to them. A band that has successfully emulated this style that has prolonged The Cure’s fame is called The Chameleons. The Chameleons, also from England, began recording in 1981. They broke up after the sudden death of their manager in 1985, re-formed in 2000, and then disbanded once more in 2003.
The Chameleons have a dance-y, new wave sound much like that of The Cure. Since the bands were recording around the same time, it is clear that they were both influenced by the same post-punk and gothic rock fads. The Chameleons sometimes have a darker tone to their songs than The Cure does; the vocals are more somber and the guitar is subdued instead of upbeat and loud.
Percussion also plays a heavy role in both bands. Strong beats and echoing crashes are characteristic of the post-punk era, with the drums almost acting as sound effects instead of a supplemental music element.
Check out my favorite song by The Chameleons, “Up the Down Escalator”:
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