Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


Cursive's Domestica

Author: Jeff
05/08/2000 | Delusions of Adequacy | | Album Review
Cursive's newest album, the one that fans thought would never be after the band broke up, suitably picks up where their last one left off. Apparently the band had intended to come around toward the indie-rock feel, leaving some of the post-hardcore and emo rock of their last album, but the feeling and passion entrenched in these songs was too much for them. Instead, you get an insight into singer/songwriter Tim Kashner's troubled soul. For Kashner's marriage is over, and if Domestica isn't his attempts to come to grips with that, then it might as well be.

Cursive play a style of driving post-hardcore that just blows you away. The guitars come out of everywhere, both aggressive and spitting out chords and notes equally. With all three guitarists singing, including new edition Ted Stevens from Lullaby for the Working Class, you've got vocals that pack more of an emotional punch than most of your early emo favorites. And the rhythm section is tight and driving, keeping things blasting away. But the band knows how to change things up, slowing down enough to lull you in, get you leaning forward, only to blast your ears off yet again.

"The Casualty" kicks things off, lulling you a bit despite some blasts of guitar before the chorus kicks in, and you get driving guitar, pounding rhythms, and shut/sung vocals. But it's got feeling too, as the singers moan out, "uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh," and the guitars can be more melodic as well. "The Martyr" has some oddly dissonant guitar layers that somehow fit together and some incredible drums. It's also one of the more passionate songs, as it drops to almost silence when Kashner sings, "your tears are only alibis." "Shallow Means, Deep Ends" has one of the best intros and most amazing beats throughout. The piano in "Making Friends and Acquaintances" slows things down a bit and gives it a more melodic edge. "A Red So Deep" loses touch for a while, losing itself in blistering muffles and feedbacks, and "The Lament of Pretty Baby" comes right in, blasting and pounding. I especially love the attitude and hints of knowing slyness in "The Game of Who Needs Who the Worst." "The Radiator Hums" is slower until the chorus, when everyone chimes in and it kicks you in the face, shouting out, "This house is a hole that you can never fill."

Want an example of how bitter Kashner appears to be? "Sweetie, the moon has raped me / It's left its seeds like a tomb inside me. So I must learn to abort these feelings / This romance is bleeding." These bitter and knowing remarks are scattered throughout these songs, making for a listen that isn't uplifting but is emotional. Like Cursive's last album, there's a definite progression through each song. You feel like everything is unfolding right before you.

Cursive definitely isn't hardcore. It's not angry, driving and screaming. Somehow, Kashner keeps his voice in check, and the rhythm never loses touch and style. It manages to barely keep things constrained, enough to lean more toward the rock side of things. But this is powerful rock, full of feeling and anger. You can tell that Kashner is working things out on the band's third full-length, and he's helping us all work a few things out as well.

Cursive's Domestica

Cursive's Domestica

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