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Cursive's Domestica

Author: - Mark Donohue
05/11/2000 | | | | Album Review
Well, what do you know. A concept record that doesn't suck! Cursive's Domestica, which is not only a collection of songs with a central theme, but one by an emocore band, beats all the odds and rocks out splendidly. The moment my roommate's girlfriend jumped out of her seat when I first put on the blasting introduction to "The Casualty," I knew this one was going to be a keeper. By the time the album's story of a shattered marriage finally registered fully between my still-ringing ears, I knew it was much more.

It's hard to describe why Domestica works so well. It might be the classy blend of three distinctive vocalists, or the tight, tight, tight crash of the guitars and rhythm section. It might be the smart and incisive lyrics ("Get on that cross / It's all you're good for," "The Martyr" bitingly has it), or the occasional Fugazi-ish chorus chants. More precisely it's all of the above, the sound of a good band trying something more ambitious than just writing rock songs, which is rare enough, and succeeding, which is rarer still.

"The Casualty" and "The Martyr" introduce us to the main characters, man and wife. Tim Kasher's vocals are wonderful, angry, wounded, and without the needless affectations too many "serious" rock singers adopt. Through the whole length of Domestica, Kasher (occasionally joined by guitarist Ted Stevens and bassist Matt Maginn) successfully balances narrative and musicality, with songs that vary but never meander. The climactic "The Radiator Hums" is an achievement, with lashing guitars and lyrics that collect images from the whole of the record to lead into a dramatic final "don't call me pretty baby." The album's last song is entitled "The Night I Lost The Will To Fight," which sums up the conclusion to Domestica's plotline pretty neatly.

Cursive make music that is loud, emotional, and extremely intelligent, and Domestica is a record that succeeds in almost every sense of the word. One's left hungry after only nine songs, but to add more might take away from the album's dramatic efficiency. Besides, after he's bared his soul to us nine heart-wrenching times, who could possibly ask Kasher for any more? After a slow first couple of months, it looks like 2000 is picking up for indie rock. Domestica might be the single best new album I've heard so far this year. Highly recommended.
Cursive's Domestica

Cursive's Domestica

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