13 Incredible Bands Similar To The Cure

Written by Dan Farrant

Picture this: you’re listening to the Cure, the British band whose haunting melodies and gothic-rock beats have captivated listeners across continents and through decades. Their music, a tapestry of deep emotions and vivid imagery, has been a companion to many.

But imagine if there were more bands out there echoing the unique sound of the Cure in their own captivating ways. Exciting, right?

Well, get ready for a treat because we’ve listed 13 incredible bands similar to the Cure. So why not venture into the inviting world of post-punk and goth rock? Let’s get started.

The Cure by Christian Córdova (CC BY 2.0)

1. The Smiths

First on this list is The Smiths. Originating from Manchester, England, in 1982, they were often credited as the definitive British indie rock band of the ’80s, heralding the end of synth-driven new wave and the beginning of guitar rock that dominated the music scene.

In a way, The Smiths echoed a similar sound of The Cure. Though the Smiths had more indie pop, alt-rock influences, they also blended post-punk elements into their music, reminiscent of The Cure’s style.

The band’s debut in 1984 was met with critical acclaim. Over the next three years, they would release three more studio albums, including Meat Is Murder, which topped the UK Albums Chart, and The Queen Is Dead, hailed as their magnum opus.

Despite their success, internal tensions and disagreements led to The Smiths’ breakup in 1987. Even though their career was relatively short-lived, their music continues to be enjoyed by many today.

2. Joy Division

From Salford, England, Joy Division was a band that left a lasting impression on the music world despite their brief existence. Formed in 1976, the group consisted of Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris.

Emerging in the wake of punk’s raw energy, Joy Division became a leading figure in the post-punk movement like The Cure. Their music was characterized not just by its intensity but also by its deep emotional resonance, often reflecting Curtis’s personal experiences and struggles. This combination made them a standout act in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Their debut album, Unknown Pleasures, released in 1979, was a hit, peaking at #5 on the UK Albums Chart. The album cover, featuring a pulsar waveform, has become an iconic image in pop culture.

Sadly, Joy Division’s journey was abruptly halted by the tragic demise of Ian Curtis in 1980. But the remaining members carried on their musical exploration by forming New Order, achieving significant success in their own right.

3. New Order

New Order was born out of the ashes of Joy Division, spurred by the passing of Joy Division’s lead singer in 1980. The remaining members—Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris—carried on with their musical journey under a new name and with a slightly different sound.

They formed New Order later that year, with Sumner taking over the vocal duties. In 1981, Gillian Gilbert joined the band, adding keyboard and guitar to their sound.

This lineup change marked a shift in their musical direction. While a dark, brooding post-punk sound had characterized Joy Division, New Order started to incorporate elements of electronic and dance music into their work.

New Order’s breakthrough came with the release of “Blue Monday” in 1983. This track, which combined synth-pop with alternative rock, became a defining moment for the band and remains one of their best-selling 12-inch singles of all time.

Despite the dramatic change in their sound, New Order never completely abandoned their post-punk roots, hence why they’ve made it on this list.

4. Echo & The Bunnymen

British band Echo & The Bunnymen was formed in Liverpool in 1978. The original line-up consisted of vocalist Ian McCulloch, guitarist Will Sergeant, and bass player Les Pattinson.

The band’s music quickly caught the attention of renowned radio DJ John Peel, and they soon became a staple of the late ’70s and ’80s British post-punk scene. Their debut album, Crocodiles, released in 1980, was a critical success and included popular tracks like “Rescue” and “Pictures on My Wall.”

The band continued to enjoy success throughout the 80s, with albums such as Porcupine (1983), Ocean Rain (1984), and Evergreen (1997).

Echo & The Bunnymen’s style and sound had an undeniable influence on the post-punk genre, like The Cure, and they paved the way for many bands that followed. Despite various line-up changes and hiatuses over the years, their music remains relevant to this day.

5. Siouxsie And The Banshees

From London’s punk scene in 1976, Siouxsie and the Banshees carved out a unique niche in the music world. Originally founded by vocalist Siouxsie Sioux and bass guitarist Steven Severin, the band became one of the pivotal figures in the punk community.

Throughout their career, Siouxsie and the Banshees released numerous critically acclaimed albums such as The Scream, Kaleidoscope, and Juju. Their music evolved over time, blending different genres and influences, but always retained its post-punk edge.

Siouxsie and The Banshees disbanded in 1996 after releasing 11 studio albums but not before inspiring a generation of musicians, including Robert Smith of The Cure, who became a guitarist for the band early in his career.

Interestingly, they have released a new compilation album titled All Souls (2022), a seasonally themed collection of classics and rarities curated by Siouxsie and Severin themselves. This shows that their music continues to resonate with audiences, even years after the band officially disbanded.

6. Depeche Mode

Making waves in the music industry for over four decades, we have next Depeche Mode. Formed in Basildon, England, in 1980, the original lineup consisted of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher, and Vince Clarke. Clarke left the band after their first album, and Alan Wilder joined the group in 1982.

The Cure is one of Depeche Mode’s influences, along with other British bands like Joy Division and New Order. However, Depeche Mode has a distinct style that sets them apart from other similar bands.

Their synthpop sound and dark lyrics create a unique blend that fans can’t get enough of. One of their biggest hits, “Enjoy the Silence,” from their 1990 album Violator, perfectly captures their style.

These days, Depeche Mode continues to rock fans. Their latest release was Memento Mori in early 2023, which has already topped the charts in several European countries, including France, Switzerland, and Italy.

7. The Jesus And Mary Chain

Scottish alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain was formed in 1983 by brothers Jim and William Reid. Their music is known for its mix of post punk, shoegaze, indie rock, noise pop, and gothic rock influences.

Their debut album, Psychocandy, released in 1985, is considered a landmark album in the post-punk genre. The band had better success with Darklands in 1987, which landed in the top five of the UK Albums chart.

If you’re a fan of The Cure’s moody atmosphere or New Order’s danceable beats mixed with gothic undertones, you’ll enjoy listening to The Jesus and Mary Chain.

8. The Psychedelic Furs

Formed in London, England, post-punk band The Psychedelic Furs rose to prominence in the late 1970s and early ’80s alongside bands such as The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen.

The Psychedelic Furs quickly gained traction in England’s burgeoning punk scene. Their self-titled debut album, in 1980, was well-received. They followed this up with seven more albums throughout their career.

The Psychedelic Furs continued to experiment with their sound, incorporating elements of rock, new wave, and synth-pop. One notable aspect of their evolution has been their use of various instruments. Mandolins, woodwinds, saxophones, and violins have all appeared on their albums, along with guitar squalls and martial drumming.

Despite various lineup changes and hiatuses over the years, The Psychedelic Furs never lost their innovative edge.

9. Cocteau Twins

Scottish trio The Cocteau Twins began their journey in Grangemouth, Scotland. The year was 1979 when Robin Guthrie and Will Heggie decided to form a band, an idea that would soon blossom into a fruitful musical endeavor. Not long after, they were joined by Elizabeth Fraser.

Like The Cure, The Cocteau Twins was a pioneer in the post-punk genre. However, while The Cure leaned towards gothic rock, the Cocteau Twins carved their niche within dream pop.

They debuted with “Garlands” in 1982, which was well-received by critics and established them as a fresh voice in post-punk music. Their popularity soared with their subsequent albums like Head Over Heels, Victorialand, and Blue Bell Knoll, all three of which topped UK’s Indie chart.

While the band did not receive mainstream awards, they’ve had an undeniable influence on the alternative music scene, shaping the future of genres like dream pop and shoegaze.

10. Bauhaus

Post-punk band Bauhaus has significantly contributed to the gothic rock genre. Formed in Northampton in 1978, they are known for their dark image and gloomy sound and are often credited as the pioneers of gothic rock.

Their debut single, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” released in 1979, is considered one of the first records of gothic rock. But their greatest success is their third album, The Sky’s Gone Out (1983), which landed at #4 on the UK Albums chart.

Despite their initial success, the band broke up soon after Sky’s Gone Out, with members going on to pursue other projects. Nonetheless, Bauhaus’ influence has remained significant over the years.

11. The Sisters Of Mercy

Hailing from Leeds, England, rock band The Sisters of Mercy was initiated by singer Andrew Eldritch and guitarist Gary Marx in 1980. Like The Cure, this band fused gothic rock, post punk, and new wave, creating irresistible music.

Their debut album, First and Last and Always, was released in 1985 and was a commercial success. However, the band struggled with internal conflicts and lineup changes. Despite these challenges, they released two more successful albums: Floodland in 1987 and Vision Thing in 1990.

Notably, the band has not released any new material since 1993, but they continue to tour and perform live. They’ve gained a reputation for their powerful live performances, and fans continue to enjoy their music.

12. Interpol

Formed in Manhattan, New York, in 1997, the rock band Interpol is known for its atmospheric music. They have been compared to The Cure for their moody lyrics and post-punk sound.

Their debut album, Turn on the Bright Lights, released in 2002, was critically acclaimed and marked their place in the indie rock scene. Subsequent albums such as Our Love to Admire (2007), Interpol (2010), and El Pintor (2014) further showcased their unique sound and evocative storytelling.

Despite changes in the lineup, they have remained steadfast in their musical style. Still active, Interpol has recently released their seventh studio album, The Other Side of Make-Believe (2022).

13. The Mission UK

Formed in Leeds, England, in 1986, The Mission (or The Mission UK in the United States) the band was started by frontman Wayne Hussey and bassist Craig Adams, who were both former members of The Sisters of Mercy.

The Mission is known for their blend of gothic rock and post-punk with influences from psychedelia and metal. Their sound can be compared to that of The Cure, with a similar emphasis on atmospheric and moody compositions. Their lyrics often explore deep and introspective themes.

They released their debut album, God’s Own Medicine, in 1986, and was a significant success. Some of their most well-known songs include “Wasteland,” “Severina,” and “Tower of Strength.”

Over the years, The Mission has undergone various lineup changes but remains active, continuing to release albums and tour.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like The Cure

That’s a wrap with our list of bands that fans of The Cure may also enjoy. Covering a range of post-punk and grunge influences, these bands offer a similar allure, each with their unique twist.

We hope this exploration has been enlightening and helpful in expanding your musical horizons. Music is an ever-evolving landscape, and there’s always more to discover.

If we missed other bands reminiscent of The Cure’s distinctive sound, please share your recommendations. We’ll add them here for you!

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.