Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


The Recluse

Author: Austin
06/12/2004 | | | Album Review
I've been in love with Cursive's music ever since I heard Domestica a few years ago. Since then I have made it my job to hunt down every b-side, 7", and rarity that I could get on Ebay or download. That's the way it works for me. If I really like a band or artist, I get crazy obsessive. Case in point: I own fucking everything Elliott Smith has ever put out. Everything. It's insane, I know, and I probably have a compulsive disorder, but that's the way I do it. So after digging into the band's back catalogue and devouring the jewels that were Such Blinding Stars for Starving Eyes and The Storms of Early Summer, I was still hungry for more Cursive. I began to seek out those b-sides that I spoke of earlier, and that's where this single comes in.

If you're reading this review, then it's likely you've heard Cursive's latest effort, The Ugly Organ. "The Recluse" is probably the most subdued song from that album and it appears here exactly as it was, save for a new interlude serves as a transition the first b-side. But for those of you who have not heard the album, "The Recluse" is a mid-tempo walk through the desperation and self-loathing involved in one-night stands. It incorporates a vibraphone for the main melody and also liberally uses Gretta Cohn's cello. It's a less obvious choice for a single than the last two ("Art is Hard" and "Some Red-Handed Sleight of Hand") because it's not as representative of Cursive's overall sound.

The first B-side, "Once", is pretty much a throwaway and I could see upon the first listen why it didn't make it onto The Ugly Organ. It has overly simplistic music and repetitive lyrics that cover the same territory as the title track of the latest The Good Life EP, Lovers Need Lawyers, but without the same lyrical flair. The chorus is just a repetition of the line "Just this once" and the first verse is even repeated at the end. It's also relatively short, clocking in at two minutes. I hope this is not the direction that Cursive is taking their music in.

The second B-side took me completely by surprise. "Adapt" shows Cursive taking things in a totally different direction. I can see why this one also didn't make it onto The Ugly Organ (if it was even recorded during those sessions). The instrumentation fits perfectly in with the aforementioned album, but its lyrics are more akin to The Storms of Early Summer or Such Blinding Stars for Starving Eyes. Nope, for once this isn't a song about a song, or a self-hating diatribe. It's about how society puts us in a place and expects us to play the part, to lower our expectations. Its span reaches numerous subjects from love to money, to religion and even patriotism and law enforcement. After two albums about the heartbreak of divorce and unrequited love, I would love to see Cursive return to this lyrical style and subject.
The Recluse

The Recluse

CD / MP3