It's no secret that The Vaulted Skies cite The Cure as a major influence, and the band is now confirmed to open for Reeves Gabrels (The Cure's guitarist since 2012) on the St Albans stop of his UK tour in October. We got leaked a copy of their intended six-song set for the event, so thought we'd guide you through the Curiest references to look out for.
This stalker-ish ode to unrequited love points musically to Primary from The Cure's third album - Faith - released in 1981. There are lyrical references too, with "Whenever I touch your skin, I always know what I suspected is true..." highly reminiscent of "The very first time I touched your skin, I thought of a story and rushed to reach the end too soon...".
2. It Starts With You
Whilst The Head On The Door seems to be the biggest influence musically on this satirical rant-to-self (in which The Vaulted Skies' singer/songwriter/guitarist/frontman James Scott reminds himself that he's probably to blame for the things that get him down), the most distinctive Cure reference is a drum fill which features in the intro and the choruses, which is a clear homage to 10.15 Saturday, from their 1979 debut, Three Imaginary Boys.
There isn't a Vaulted Skies recording of It Starts With You available online yet, but Scott demo'd the song with his previous band - Rorschach's Journal - in 2010, which is still available on his personal Soundcloud page...
3. Caroline Slipped Across The Sky
A number of Cure songs from different eras have an apparent influence on this track. The rhythm has the feel of Charlotte Sometimes (1984), whilst the strings are similar to those featured in Cold (from The Cure's most intense album - Pornography, 1982).
4. Excuses For Strangers
Other than Smith's influence on the vocal delivery in later sections, it's harder to pinpoint many specific Cure references in this beautifully crafted slow-building song about the denial of a betrayal. With it's creepy arpeggio, the song begins in the vein of Placebo's 'My Sweet Prince', before eventually making its way through two epic guitar solos - the first by The Vaulted Skies' other guitarist Roo Hobday (who almost looks a bit like Porl Thompson), and the second by Scott, culminating in a wah-wah wig-out, which could be influenced by The Kiss (the arresting opener from The Cure 1987's album 'Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me').
We couldn't find a copy of Excuses For Strangers online (though we've seen the band perform it many times) so here's a bonus track from Placebo; the aforementioned My Sweet Prince.
5. The Night
An early section of the song borrows rhythmically from Fascination Street (from 1989's Disintegration album), but the main body is more in the vein of standalone single Never Enough, with it's Hendrix-inspired licks.
Again, there are no official recordings available, but this is another track that was performed by Scott's previous band - Rorschach's Journal. Still, the only version that exists of that is an early rehearsal video. We've seen the new 5-piece arrangement live, and the additional instruments certainly add a new dimension, making the song darker and funkier at the same time.
6. Does Anyone Else Feel (Strange)?
Most appropriate for the Reeves show, this is a dancey stomper of a track that takes it's cues from the Gabrels co-penned Wrong Number, though is often compared to New Order's Blue Monday.
Many other songs in The Vaulted Skies canon have a Cureyness about them, and you can see them play a 2 hour set prior to the 7th October St Albans show with Reeves, at The Saracens Head in Dunstable on 25th September if you want to hear more of their material. They're also headlining a big Halloween event at Trestle Arts Base in St Albans on the 31st October.
If like me, you've been frustrated waiting for new material from The Cure, you could do worse than get along to a Vaulted Skies show to hear something fresh that embodies that sound of guitars and bass swirling in a mass of chorus, delay and flangers, with sweeping keyboard strings and piano parts, driven by pounding drums. And let's not forget Scott's vocal, which is now more commanding and emotionally dynamic than ever.